• James Armstrong

MRC-VS welcomes construction of a larger hospital facility for the region


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

(Left to right) Soulanges MNA Lucie Charlebois, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, Vaudreuil MNA Marie-Claude Nichols and Health Minister Gaétan Barrette met residents March 22 to announce the expansion of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital project.

The announcement of a larger hospital project for the Municipalité régionale de comté Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC-VS) was good news for Prefect and Rivière-Beaudette Mayor Patrick Bousez according to a press release issued Friday, March 23. However, Bousez expressed concerns about the state of healthcare in the area before the hospital becomes a usable reality.

"The announcement by Premier Couillard is great news for the region but as the current timeline has been pushed back by eight years, I am wondering about the transitional measures that will be adopted to absorb this change on schedule. As the population will continue to increase sharply in the coming years, there must be additions to healthcare services by the time the hospital opens. Given the lack of paramedics in the territory and the lack of local health services, the government should invest in training for first responders throughout the MRC territory in addition to front-line services and improvement to proximity services. I invite the Minister of Health and Social Services, Gaétan Barrette, to come and meet us to present his transitional plan," read the release.

Bigger, better hospital

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard announced the construction of a 404-bed hospital that will begin sometime in 2022 with a projected completion date sometime in 2026. Québec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette, MNA for Soulanges Lucie Charlebois and MNA for Vaudreuil Marie-Claude Nichols accompanied the premier for a press conference held Thursday, March 22 at the CLSC Vaudreuil-Soulanges in Vaudreuil-Dorion.

Proper planning

“We are announcing today, a hospital that is double the size of the one initially planned,” said Couillard. The original concept of 200 beds changed as studies of the needs of the area were completed he added, noting Vaudreuil-Soulanges’ population explosion was an important factor in the change of plans. He said developing a hospital is a very complex project involving changes to infrastructure such as roads and other services. “I don’t think that people in this area would be very happy if we announced a 200-bed hospital now and in three or four years came back and said we were wrong, we need to double the size of the hospital. Proper planning is key,” Couillard added. The cost of the project is now pegged at $1.5 billion and will appear in the upcoming provincial budget.

Medical services

“We are planning this hospital to have 2000 births per year with all the appropriate services,” said Health Minister Gaétan Barrette when asked about the type of services the facility would provide. Of the 404 beds, 217 will be dedicated to general medical treatment, 94 to surgery, 24 to pediatrics, 25 to obstetrics and 44 to psychiatry. “The focus of the hospital will be widespread,” said Barrette describing it, as an up-to-date modern facility capable of meeting the current and future needs of the area. Using oncology as an example, the Health Minister described how various treatments happen on an outpatient basis where the individual would come to the hospital for treatment and return home. Of the 10 operating rooms, two would be dedicated to obstetrics. “We had a very detailed study on which we based our decision,” said Barrette. “The services will be available in English as they are everywhere in the province,” he added.

Interim healthcare

On Monday, March 26, MNA for Soulanges Lucie Charlebois reiterated Health Minister Barrette’s promise of two super clinics for the region. She said the government continues to be in communication with all the local partners in the hospital project including the MRC-VS.

Land acquisition

“That has to be closed by June 30 of this year,” said Barrette when asked how soon expropriation of the land designated for the hospital would take place. “We will pass a decree if necessary,” he said confirming there was more than enough space for the larger facility.

According to MRC-VS statistics, the region’s population has grown from 133,886 residents in 2010 to 153,275 in 2018 making it one of Quebec’s regions with the largest population increase.

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