Hants Community Hospital renovations starting this August

Surgical unit to be shut down for three months

Published on March 16, 2017

Hants West MLA Chuck Porter, Janet Knox, the Nova Scotia Health Authority president and CEO, and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil stopped by the Hants Community Hospital March 16 to update the community on the pending renovations.

©Carole Morris-Underhill

WINDSOR, N.S. — The Hants Community Hospital isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Despite speculation over the years that the hospital may close, Premier Stephen McNeil was in Windsor March 16 to unveil the plans for renovations and upgrades that will modernize the operating rooms so that it will be used well into the future.

“I hope that this will finally put to rest any anxiety in this community that this hospital is going to close,” said McNeil while speaking at the hospital.

Premier Stephen McNeil says the QEII Redevelopment Project is an opportunity to invest in existing infrastructure as they work to reshape the province's health-care delivery model.

©Carole Morris-Underhill

Sherri Parker, the health services director at the Hants Community Hospital, said she's proud of the service provided at the hospital and looks forward to the future expansion.
Carole Morris-Underhill

As part of the QEII Redevelopment Project, the Hants Community Hospital's unused second operating room will be renovated and the existing operating room will be upgraded. This will add about 800 surgeries a year, nearly double the amount of surgeries already being performed in town.

“Hants is an excellent ambulatory surgical centre, an ideal location for performing outpatient, general, and orthopedic surgeries, such as hernia repairs, knee and shoulder arthroscopy. With these renovations, it will update and modernize the existing OR and add one to the capacity,” said Dr. Alex Mitchell, the site's chief of surgery.

“Our patients speak very highly of their experience here and they are very grateful for the shortened wait that this pathway provides.”

In order to complete the $3.8 million renovations, the operating room section of the hospital will be closed for three months, starting in August.

“This will allow the construction work to be done in a more timely manner and at a lower cost than if we try to do the construction while trying to work in the zone at the same time,” said Mitchell. “It's simply not feasible, nor safe, to continue doing surgeries in that construction area during this period.”

Dr. Alex Mitchell, the chief of surgery at the Hants Community Hospital, told the crowd gathered for the unveiling of the plans to renovate the operating rooms that Windsor is “an ideal location for performing outpatient, general, and orthopedic surgeries.”

©Carole Morris-Underhill

While the renovations are underway, they will also upgrade and replace the specialized lights and equipment in the existing operating room, Mitchell said, who first stepped foot in the Windsor hospital about 14 years ago for medical training.

“The expansion of services here at Hants Community Hospital demonstrates the work we do as a provincial health authority – working toward shorter wait times and providing opportunity for less-complex care services closer to home," said Janet Knox, the Nova Scotia Health Authority president and CEO.

Hants West MLA Chuck Porter, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil, and Janet Knox, the Nova Scotia Health Authority president and CEO, unveiled the plans for renovating and upgrading the Hants Community Hospital March 16.

©Carole Morris-Underhill

Hants West MLA Chuck Porter says the provincial investment in upgrading the Hants Community Hospital reaffirms the longevity of the site.
Carole Morris-Underhill

A long-term vision

Although there's been rumblings in the community that the hospital could be closed, the local MLA said this investment signals otherwise.

“I've never heard anyone at higher levels talk about closing our hospital. This just goes to reaffirm, with great assurance, the longevity of this great facility and the people working here,” said Hants West MLA Chuck Porter.

Porter and McNeil both praised the community for keeping the hospital relevant and in such good condition since it was built in 1976.

Both the Hants Community Hospital Foundation and the Hants Community Hospital Auxiliary have spent considerable time and effort raising funds over the years to keep the location filled with up-to-date equipment and provide 'extras' that benefit the physicians, nursing staff and patients.

Janet Knox, the Nova Scotia Health Authority president and CEO, said the expansion of services at the Hants Community Hospital means shorter wait times for patients.

©Carole Morris-Underhill

“The Hants Community Hospital Foundation wholeheartedly supports this project, which will provide important operating capacity to both the Windsor and West Hants areas, as well as to the entire province,” said Andy Kirk, chairman of the Hants Community Hospital Foundation in a prepared statement.

Kirk indicated the group is looking forward to continuing to fundraise to support the expansion.

“We're so very proud of this hospital. We often hear from our patients about the exceptional care that they receive from the staff, doctors and all of our volunteers,” said Sherri Parker, the health services director at the Hants Community Hospital.

The premier said that this generation has been given the opportunity to reshape and improve the province's health care delivery system.

“It wasn't all that long after I became premier that I began to hear about all the leaks at the QEII. While you were listening to it on the news, you may have thought it was a disaster for all of us. It was actually an opportunity,” said McNeil.

The QEll Redevelopment Project will see services transferred from the QEll Health Sciences Centre as the government prepares to close the Victoria and Centennial buildings. McNeil said expanding services to Windsor made sense as the health authority looked for areas with underutilized space.

“We're excited about this. This is an important piece of the long-term vision about how we reshape our health-care delivery model,” said McNeil, a few minutes before unveiling the floor plans for the renovation.

“For a very long time, we've tried to make quick fixes to our health-care delivery model in Nova Scotia. We can't. We need to take a long-term approach and a long-term vision,” said McNeil.

Long-time community physician Dr. Cathryn Smith, right, and Windsor Mayor Anna Allen look pleased as the plans for the Hants Community Hospital upgrades were announced.

©Carole Morris-Underhill