Few hospitals are fortunate enough to open a brand new, state-of-the-art facility. To be able to, essentially, transform your organization twice within 15 years is unbelievable. Thanks to persistence, vision, outstanding community support and a clear need driven by explosive population growth, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in Barrie, Ontario has begun the safe, gradual transition into its ambitious Phase 1 Expansion.
The $450 million project comes just 15 years after RVH opened its 500,000 square-foot facility. This redevelopment, officially opened by Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews on May 17th, doubles the size of the health centre. It features capacity for 165 additional inpatient beds, triples the size of the Emergency Department and significantly expands the Imaging Department and Laboratory. The redevelopment also includes two new operating suites, as well as the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre.
As the largest hospital in Simcoe Muskoka the expansion offers many specialized services not found elsewhere in the region such as a respiratory and cardiac unit and interventional radiology. It features $70 million in state-of-the-art equipment, including Canada’s first Robotic Intravenous Automation System (RIVA) for the safe, consistent preparation of chemotherapy treatments and one of the first fully-automated laboratories in the country. The additional capacity, services and technology will allow RVH to care for more patients closer to home; repatriating those who have had to access care outside the region.
The redevelopment also includes Rotary House lodge for cancer patients, named in recognition of $1.5 million in contributions from Rotary Clubs throughout the region. That standalone building is also the new location for RVH’s Family Medicine Teaching Unit, a highly successful partnership with the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine. Here family medicine residents receive traditional classroom training from award-winning faculty and gain practical experience as they roster over 1,500 patients in the clinical setting of the teaching unit. This initiative furthers RVH’s goal of being a centre of educational excellence.
With an expansion this size comes the largest recruitment drive in the history of #Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, with a goal to hire over 700 employees – the majority of them nurses – over the next three years. We recognize that bringing that many new people into an organization has the risk of significantly changing its culture. To ensure RVH was clearly defining its own culture, the health centre embarked on a journey to ensure safety, quality and service excellence throughout the organization; an initiative we call be excellent! This evidence-based model is designed to embed a culture of excellence by adopting and “hardwiring” a series of prescriptive actions, clearly defining our hospital’s expected behaviours, work plans, corporate goals and outcomes.
Our commitment to being excellent – always — will ensure RVH is able to retain and recruit the best staff and physicians. 10,000 people have applied to Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in the past year, and we’ve hired just over 360; carefully selecting the best candidates who will contribute to a positive, respectful environment and who put our patients and safe, high quality care first.
RVH has come a long way in a relatively short period of time; progress that would not have been possible without the remarkable support of the entire region. Individuals, organizations and businesses contributed a staggering $35.6 million to RVH’s “I Believe” capital campaign. The City of Barrie, County of Simcoe and District of Muskoka collectively invested an additional $75.5 million, ensuring RVH’s “local share” plan was so robust that the health centre didn’t incur any debt to complete the expansion – something of which few hospitals can boast.
So what’s next for RVH?
While we celebrate the success of the remarkable building, now we need to strategically plan its future role; ensuring that not only are we embracing the change and challenges in healthcare, but that we are anticipating and planning to take full advantage of opportunities to come.
The opening of the expansion represents a new chapter in RVH’s 115-year history and this fall we will launch a new Strategic Planning exercise which will chart an ambitious course for the future with a bold vision and clear focus.
While the Phase 1 Expansion brings new faces and new spaces to RVH, one thing will not change and that is our unwavering commitment to the patients and families entrusted to our care. It is what drives our passion for excellence. It is what inspires us to provide the safest, most advanced, patient-centred healthcare experience possible.