William Osler Health Centre is breaking ground in more ways than one!

Recognized as one of the most successful hospital amalgamations in Ontario, William Osler Health Centre is poised to become one of the most progressive and sophisticated health-care facilities in the province.

William Osler Health Centre is breaking ground in two distinct areas.

The hospital is moving forward with one of the largest health-care redevelopment projects in the province (which includes building the first new hospital in the GTA on a green-field site since 1990) and, as announced by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ministry of Finance, will become the first pilot project for new hospital construction in Ontario using the public-private partnership (P3) model.

William Osler Health Centre has assembled an exceptional professional team that includes Dunlop Murphy/Hilgers Inc., (the Joint-Venture Architects awarded the redevelopment project) and their many sub-consultants, and other professional groups, including special consultants such as Hanscomb Inc., (Cost Consultants) and Project Control Group (Master Scheduling Consultant).

A unique part of this project has been the opportunity for hospital staff, physicians and volunteers to take an active role in the planning and design of the new hospital. It makes sense that the people delivering the care have input into how the care is delivered, which departments need to be close together, and what types of equipment need to be incorporated into the design of hospital services and rooms. The entire process is much easier to manage when it is directed by the users. Approximately 40 user groups, consisting of staff, physicians, volunteers and community members have had significant input into how the new hospital will function and were instrumental in forming the Functional Program submission to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Because of the unique opportunity to build the new hospital on a green-field site, staff were able, from the start, to define the best way of delivering care in the new facility as opposed to the more traditional method of planning for and delivering new patient care services in existing facilities that have limitations because of space and/or structure.

The redevelopment project at William Osler Health Centre includes four key components:

  • A new hospital at Bramalea Road and Bovaird Drive in Brampton
  • Major expansion of the Etobicoke Hospital Campus
  • Major expansion of the Georgetown Hospital Campus
  • Reconstruction of the current Brampton Memorial Hospital Campus once services have been transitioned and have come on line at the new hospital

The new hospital will be an ultra-modern facility, featuring state-of-the-art equipment and will consist of three distinct blocks; an inpatient tower, a diagnostic/therapeutic wing with a state-of-the-art emergency department, and an outpatient/ambulatory care block. A unique feature in designing the new facility was the opportunity to create two sets of circulation paths inside the hospital. One is for the general public and ambulatory patient flow and the other for the movement of inpatients, materials, staff and equipment.

The public spine is located at the front (south side) of the facility, running in an east/west direction, and will accommodate the majority of the entrance traffic and parking. The support corridor, which parallels the public corridor, is located between the diagnostic block and the inpatient units, and will allow patients on stretchers to be transported with dignity and privacy.

To help promote a “healing” environment and an atmosphere that is as pleasing as it is functional, the new facility is being designed with various landscaping techniques to create an environment in harmony with nature. For example, constructing advantageous views to activities related to bicycle, jogging or walking routes, creating pond views and woodland swaths, generating views for patients waiting for appointments, enhancing opportunities for wildlife habitat and integrating natural garden elements with building form and function.

The new facility is being designed with a fibre-optic backbone and will have the capacity to handle advanced digital equipment, promoting both current and future trends in e-health. The hospital has established an e-Health Advisory Board, responsible for providing guidance in the development, deployment and ongoing evaluation of web-based applications to ensure that an e-health strategy, consistent with William Osler Health Centre’s vision, is achieved. Among other things, the e-Health Advisory Board has already developed criteria and protocols for establishing linkages within the community.

The hospital will realize cost savings by incorporating the most sophisticated materials and processes into the design of the new hospital, creating a more functional and operational environment upon completion. There will be 716 acute care beds and key regional services will be provided such as cardiac testing, rehabilitation, dialysis, paediatrics, obstetrics and advanced diagnostic modalities.

Leo Steven, President & CEO notes, “One of the biggest challenges in building a new facility is envisioning what health-care delivery will be like in the future. We are building this new hospital with the vision that our new hospital and expansions are opening the door to the future – a future where William Osler Health Centre will be the model for health-care delivery.” Adds Steven, “Staff have an opportunity to think ‘outside the box’, becoming familiar with the facility and methods of care delivery through orientation and training before the physical move to the new hospital site takes place. It’s an opportunity for them to have a stake in the new facility and the future.”

William Osler Health Centre will also take a leadership role in another area – it has been announced by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ministry of Finance, that it will be the first pilot project for new hospital construction using the public-private partnership (P3) model. This model will be used in the planning, design, construction and financing of the new hospital at Bramalea Road and Bovaird Drive, and while it has been used in many non-institutional projects across the province, has never before been implemented in the hospital sector.

Tom Dickson, Chief of Staff, notes, “Typically, family physicians’ practices are publicly-insured services provided in privately-owned buildings. Historically, hospitals have also entered into public/private partnerships in many aspects of hospital health-care delivery, including parking, retail, laundry and medical office buildings,” he adds. “These services are contracted to third parties and are used as a source of funds, which are channeled back into patient care. With the public-private partnership arrangement, most of the up-front capital required to build the new hospital will come from the private sector. This allows the hospital to focus on what they need to do – deliver leading-edge health care to rapidly-growing communities,” he concludes.

An easy analogy in understanding the public-private partnership (P3) arrangement is to think of the hospital as a potential car buyer. The car buyer, not having enough capital up front to buy the car, enters into a lease agreement with the dealership. An agreement to lease as opposed to purchase is entered into over a specified period of time with monthly payments and future “buy-back” fees negotiated up-front between the two parties.

William Osler Health Centre’s redevelopment project is opening the door to the future for its communities. When all is said and done, patients will have access to a world-class health-care facility offering key regional services; leading-edge technological advancements and care delivery; and larger, more efficient emergency services in an environment that is conducive to patient and family-centred care.