By John Swartz
Ontario premier Doug Ford was in Orillia Friday morning, with minister of health Sylvia Jones and Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop in tow, to make an announcement of increased funding for Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital.
The province is providing an additional $25 million to the hospital’s budget. $15.7 million of the amount expands annual funding.
Ford said the balance, $9.5 million, will be used to provide critical nurse training and to, “preserve and increase the number of beds.”
The hospital increased the number of beds by 60 during the last three years, and the new funding reflects that increase.
Soldier’s CEO, Carmine Stumpo said the new funding will also allow for more ICU beds, other hospital programs and reduce surgical wait times. The number of joint replacement surgeries will be able to be doubled.
Mayor Don McIsaac also addressed the media and gathering of hospital staff and volunteers. As mayor he also sits on the hospital board.
“It’s a huge vote of support by the premier in Orillia and we’re looking forward to be able to increase our spending, and in the areas it is dedicated for it will be well spent,” said McIsaac.
Prior to the press conference, Ford toured and greeted staff in the pediatrics department where he was told by Stumpo the department handled a 200% capacity during the last fall’s Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) wave.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia) Main: Ontario Premier Doug Ford greets Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital pediatrics staff Friday morning prior to announcing a $25 million increase to the hospital budget.