Ontario Construction News staff writer
Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) has launched “Start Today. Serve Tomorrow” ti urge Ontario’s government to approve a capital planning grant to build a new acute care hospital in the 2023 spring budget.
Officials say Orillia urgently needs a new, larger hospital designed and built to modern standards to address growth and increased demand.
“We’ve already significantly outgrown our aging hospital. Unless we act today to replace it, we are going to face even greater pressure to care for our community tomorrow,” said Carmine Stumpo, president & CEO of OSMH. “We need support from the Ontario government for a new hospital to meet the increasing needs of our rapidly growing community.”
The campaign appeals for residents to send letters to the minister of health and post support on social media.
OSMH is the oldest hospital in the region. Parts of the hospital were built more than 100 years ago when Orillia was much smaller. Additions and more patient beds have been added over the decades, but the outdated building can no longer keep pace with escalating patient demand.
According to the Ontario Hospital Association, OSMH had the highest occupancy rate of all medium and large hospitals in Ontario in 2021-2022 and is currently operating at 141% of its baseline funded bed count – well over the physical capacity of its current building. Based on population projections, the hospital will need 102 additional beds by 2035.
Orillia’s population has grown twice as fast as the rest of Ontario over the past five years. It’s expected to keep climbing by nearly 45% over the next 25 years.