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'Dramatically outgrown': Southlake launches website to advocate for new hospital in Newmarket

A series of town halls will be held beginning this summer about 'one of the most overcrowded hospitals in the province,' CEO and president says
Southlake Regional Health Centre.

Southlake Regional Health Centre is launching a new website as it ramps up its campaign for a much needed new hospital in Newmarket.

The organization launched today, July 6, which offers details about the hospital's capacity issues and its 2019 master plan. The website provides information on Southlake's ideas for capital expansion. 

“Our communities have dramatically outgrown Southlake’s current facilities,” the website said. “ A recent independent study concluded that almost 90 per cent more space would be required just to right-size our facility to current hospital planning standards. This does not factor in the growth in beds needed to improve access today and to be prepared for ongoing future population growth and aging in the years to come.”

The population of the area served by Southlake grew 30 per cent between 2001 and 2016 — more than double the growth rate of the province. Meanwhile, the hospital had the highest medical and surgery occupancy in its peer group of 21 large Ontario hospitals.

Southlake president and CEO Arden Krystal said a new hospital is needed as York Region and Simcoe County are among the fastest growing and aging areas in Ontario.

“Southlake has become one of the most overcrowded hospitals in the province,” Krystal said in news release. “Despite these infrastructure challenges, Southlake’s dedicated staff and physicians provide our communities with leading-edge care each and every day.”

Southlake has been lobbying for a new hospital, with government approval needed to start early planning. 

If a new hospital is built, the master plan lays out the hope that the Davis Drive campus could be transformed into an outpatient ambulatory care site with a focus on "integrated services for seniors."

The website is meant to give the public a way to engage with Southlake’s efforts. A series of town halls with area mayors is planned to start July 27 in East Gwillimbury, with details to come. Newmarket’s town hall is Aug. 10.

“We invite our communities to visit the website, learn more about the need for a new Southlake and get involved,” Krystal said, adding the town halls will enable people to learn about the Southlake master plan and ask questions.