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New Hospital for Markdale

The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care announced funding for a new hospital in Markdale in September, 2014. This is a significant opportunity for GBHS and for the community. Updates related to the new hospital construction project will be posted here.

RECENT UPDATES: Changes to Size of Proposed Centre Grey Hospital, Sept. 2016

We have been back and forth with the Ministry of Health for quite some time on our Stage 2 submission for the new Centre Grey hospital project. We have had a number of meetings with staff from the Ministry’s Capital Branch, and have recently made some modifications to the design of the hospital that we hope will result in approval to move to the next stage of the project.

The revised design includes moving some administrative services to the lower level of the new hospital and freeing up the main floor for patient and clinical services. This has allowed us to reduce the proposed floor space on the main floor slightly without impacting any of the clinical services.  We have also reduced the unallocated and storage space on the lower level.  Overall, the size of the proposed new facility is now 68,000 square feet.

We are pleased with the modified design, and we still have flex space in the plan for future growth. It is a more efficient use of space, and will continue to accommodate work flows and patient and visitor traffic. 

The modifications to the design have decreased the estimated overall cost of the project to $63 M, compared to the previous estimate of over $67 M. The majority of these savings are a result of reduced site preparation and construction costs for the ground level. The final estimate of course will be adjusted depending on inflation at the time of construction. 

The revised Stage 2 Submission is with the Ministry’s Capital Branch.  Once approved, we will proceed to Stage 3, which is the creation of detailed engineering/architectural drawings for the new hospital.

We appreciate your continued support, and look forward to sharing more news with you soon.

BACKGROUND: The Process for Building a New Hospital

There are five stages in the approval process prior to starting construction of a new hospital. In January 2015, GBHS submitted our second document to the Ministry of Health and the South West Local Health Integration Network (SW LHIN) for approval. That document is referred to as a Stage 2 Submission.

The Stage 2 Submission outlines broadly the programs we hope to provide in the new Centre Grey Hospital, given the constraints the Ministry has imposed, and the amount of space needed to deliver those programs (51,000 square feet).

The Stage 2 Submission also includes our estimated cost for the project – currently $67 million, all inclusive – as well as a project timeline. We are optimistic that construction can begin in 2017 and will take approximately two years. 

Highlights of that Stage 2 Submission also includes a request for a palliative care room for the new hospital. We heard from residents and staff that the palliative care room is important to the community, and we adjusted our Submission to request this type of care.

The SW LHIN must endorse the Submission and the Ministry’s Capital Branch must approve it. This will take some time – months we expect. There will likely be several rounds of discussions/negotiation with the Ministry before we are approved to proceed to Stage 3 of the 5 stage process.

Updates will be provided here once we hear back from the Ministry.

Q & A on the New Hospital

What services will be in the new hospital?

Although we don't know the exact size until our Stage 2 Submission is approved, the Minister of Health has approved the following functional areas/services for the new hospital.  These include: 

24/7 Emergency Department

4 patient beds

Procedures Room(s)


Diagnostic Imaging

Outpatient Rehabilitation

Ambulatory care services

As mentioned earlier, we have also requested a palliative care room. This was not included in the original announcment made by the Minister of Health in September 2014 when we were granted approval to proceed with plans for a new hospital.

An important part of the programming of the new hospital and the services it will offer will be the working relationships we develop and maintain with the Community Health Centre, primary care providers, Grey Gables long-term care facility and community and social agencies.

Are the beds inpatient beds?

The beds in the new facility will be used for patients who require stabilization or treatment prior to being transferred to another hospital for further care, patients who require short term treatment, to ensure a safe transfer home.

This could include:

• Patients with an exacerbation of a chronic condition (e.g. COPD)

• Trauma patients where surgery and transport must be arranged

• Patients with chest pain who are awaiting results of testing

• Patients requiring blood transfusions

• Mental health patients who are waiting to be seen by the regional Urgent Response Team

The need for these beds will be compounded in winter months when travel is difficult.

While the beds are intended for shorter stays, the actual length of stay for a patient will depend on the particulars of their case, the demand for beds and the circumstances being faced by the hospital at any given time.

Is the number of beds set in stone?

In our previous submissions to the Ministry for a new hospital GBHS asked to maintain the number of inpatient beds in Markdale at 14. That was not accepted by the Ministry. The Minister approved four beds for the new hospital. While we consider this to be the starting point for discussion with the Ministry (the exact number of beds will be confirmed through analysis of case workload, projections, demographics, etc.) we don’t expect the bed count to change much.

Ministry policy and practice over the years has been to reduce the number of available beds in all hospitals across the region.

What procedures qualify for the Procedure Room?

A Procedures Room is for medical procedures that are not performed in physicians’ offices, such as endoscopy and colonoscopy.  The exact capabilities of the planned Procedure Room(s) are still being developed as we work through the design process. We will be working with the physicians and staff to define the list of procedures that we believe will be appropriate for such a facility.

What about an OR?

The new hospital will not include an Operating Room, however, we are optimistic that a modern, state-of-the-art Procedure Room will allow us to offer some of the minor procedures that are currenlty done in the OR.  In light of funding changes introduced by the Ministry, GBHS will have to be looking at its surgical programs across its sites to ensure that our programs are as efficient and effective as possible.

Are there opportunities to increase services offered at the hospital?

Yes. Some of the work that we are now doing in our Ambulatory Care clinics in Owen Sound could be considered for a procedures room in Markdale, for example. We’d like to offer pre-surgical screening in the new hospital for Markdale and area residents, and post-surgical re-habilitation for procedures done elsewhere at GBHS. We are exploring the potential of this with our physicians group and community partners.

Will there be any layoffs?

It is still very early days in the design of the functional program for the new hospital, which will determine the staffing levels and mix that will be required.

We do not anticipate a loss of employment as a result of the new hospital, but we cannot make any firm guarantees until we know what services and what level of services we will be able to operate in the new hospital. It is fair to say however, that there will be changes to jobs and perhaps changes in location of jobs. We will be working closely with staff and unions over the coming months.

When will we begin to transition to the new model of care?

Until we have an approved functional program (Stage 2 Submission) we cannot begin to address this important question. But we will address it in full consultation with physicians and staff and our labour partners at the appropriate time.

When will the new hospital be built?

Optimistically, we would hope to have a shovel in the ground within two years, but it could be longer. Keep in mind that with any new hospital project, there are five approval steps to go through before we begin construction. Each step requires a very detailed submission. The submissions go to the SW LHIN and to the Ministry of Health for approval. We sent our Stage 2 submission to the Ministry at the end of January, 2015, and we expect it to be several months before it is aproved, and we are able to proceed to Stage 3. 

When will we hear more?

We will touch base regularly as the project proceeds and when there is new information to share. Updates will be posted here on the website.

Change is not easy.

Please keep in mind that although the approved model may not be to our full liking it is an enormous opportunity for GBHS and the Centre Grey community that is not being made available by the Province to many other communities. Health care dollars are increasingly scarce, particularly new investments in rural health care.

To build a new hospital and offer the services that were approved in September of 2014 will be at least $50 million. GBHS will continue to infuse over $10 million directly into the local economy every year through wages and benefits. This is a significant investment in Grey Bruce and is certainly worth celebrating. We have the opportunity to solidify Markdale’s role in providing quality health care for generations to come.


If you would like to send us a question about the new hospital, please send it to

Click here to read the provincial government's September 2014 announcement about the new hospital.

GBHS staff met with Ministry of Health officials to advance approvals for the new Markdale Hospital. Read a summary from the meeting here.




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