Ontario Construction News staff writer
Spiking demand for mental health services has prompted Georgian Bay General Hospital in Midland to look for capital funding for an expansion.
If provincial funding is approved, the hospital president says his plan is to build a 66,000-sq. ft. acute mental-health-care wing with 36 beds. In-patient services would also be expanded.
Matthew Lawson is preparing to take over the role of interim president and CEO next month and he says his goal is to tender the project for construction in early 2024.
The number of people seeking care has increased dramatically throughout the pandemic, with addiction and depression topping the list of concerns.
In 2019-20, an average of 95 days of mental-health care were required per 1,000 residents in Ontario, according to Ontario Mental Health Reporting System (OMHRS) data. In Midland and Penetanguishene, 212 and 297 days per 1,000 residents, respectively, were required.
During 2019-20, only 31 per cent of mental-health patients who arrived at to a North Simcoe-Muskoka hospital were treated in less than 12 hours while the provincial average is 9.7 hours.
Lawson has also been a driving force in GBGH’s master planning process to secure a future hospital and push forward approvals of our proposed mental health program.
“Our hospital is well aware of where we need to focus our efforts in the present and future as we consistently experience increased demand for services while continuing to face the ongoing operational challenges and lasting impacts created by the pandemic,” he said.