RVH seeks government approval for major redevelopment and expansion plan

Proposed plan includes new nine-storey inpatient tower at current hospital site and a new hospital for south Simcoe County

The long-winding road to a larger Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre and a second hospital in either south Barrie or Innisfil took another step today.

RVH has submitted its ambitious redevelopment plan for approval by the provincial government.

The proposed plan comes two years after data analysis, detailed planning and community consultation.

“The pre-capital submission outlines RVH’s 20-year graduated infrastructure plan based on a two-campus, integrated model,” explains Charlotte Wallis, chair of the RVH Board of Directors. “This exciting plan will expand space and services, while improving access to care for the region’s residents for generations to come.”

The proposal, approved by the RVH’s Board of Directors, will double the size of the current hospital through major renovations and expansion, including construction of a new nine-storey inpatient tower. Redevelopment of the Georgian Drive site will happen over 10 years and will enable RVH to introduce new programs, expand surgical services and add up to 240 beds, easing hallway medicine and bringing the total number of beds on the current campus to 656.

As well, a new RVH south campus will be built on a-still-to-be-determined site in Innisfil or south Barrie, starting with an ambulatory health hub and expanding over 20 years to become a full-service hospital with a 24/7 Emergency department to serve the growing population in south Simcoe County. Both projects are inter-dependent and must proceed together. The RVH Foundation has expressed support for the hospital expansion and proposed south facility.

“This ambitious plan is driven by explosive population growth that has resulted in crippling capacity challenges at RVH,” explains Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO. “On most days there are no beds available in our health centre and we have no choice but to care for patients in hallways. Given that the population of the Barrie/Innisfil-area is expected to double over the next 20 years, we need to secure approvals for this important project as soon as possible to ensure RVH is able to meet the region’s hospital needs.”

RVH’s almost 600-page submission includes key planning documents called a Master Plan and Master Program which are required by the provincial government. They provide a detailed evaluation of the current hospital and the services it provides, population and patient volume projections, a high-level space and design plan and cost estimates. 

The pre-capital submission is the first step in the provincial government’s capital planning process. Its approval by the Ministry of Health would give RVH the green light to move forward to the first of five subsequent planning stages.