Skip to content

OSMH unveils campaign for new hospital to address 'urgent' need

'We need the government to acknowledge that growth, the care that is required, and to make this project a priority,' says OSMH's Carmine Stumpo
2018-11-29 Carmine Stumpo OSMH
Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital president and CEO Carmine Stumpo speaks during a town hall meeting in 2018 about the hospital's redevelopment plans. Today, Stumpo is calling on the province to provide funding to help local planning efforts toward building a new hospital in Orillia. | Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters file photo

A campaign to build a new hospital in Orillia is gaining steam, but the government must step up with funding in the spring budget to ensure the project moves forward, say local officials.

Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) unveiled its ‘Start today, serve tomorrow’ campaign Tuesday. Carmine Stumpo, the hospital’s president and CEO, says the campaign is in direct response to the “urgent and increasing need” to replace the region’s oldest hospital.

“Over the last year, we’ve seen our hospital at an occupancy that is higher than any other medium or large hospital across the province,” he told OrilliaMatters.

Stumpo says OSMH has been operating, internally, at 114 per cent occupancy. Beds both in the hospital and supported by the hospital in local retirement homes are at 141 per cent occupancy, he explained.

“It’s a direct relation of people moving from the GTA to our region,” he said. “We need the infrastructure to match this growing and healthy community.”

Stumpo says OSMH has done all of its master planning for a new hospital, has worked with the Ministry of Health through all of the steps, and now it’s time to move forward.

“We are ready to move to the next step,” he said. “We are ready for a more detailed analysis of planning.”

To move the plan forward, he says the province needs to hear the voices of community members.

“We need local businesses and partners to stand up and say this is a priority for Orillia and the surrounding area,” he said. “We need to move the planning one step further.”

OSMH has been working with Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop on its quest for a new hospital, Stumpo said.

“What differentiates us is the tremendous growth we’ve seen in our community,” he said. “We need the government to acknowledge that growth, the care that is required, and to make this project a priority.”

The province will need to approve a capital planning grant of between $5 million and $10 million to help fund the next phase of the planning process, said Stumpo, who is urging the government to earmark the funds in the spring budget.

“That allows for the appropriate architects and planners to engage in the very complex process of designing the hospital,” he said. “That’s what we are advocating for today.”

Among the next steps of planning, Stumpo says OSMH will be tasked with identifying a location for a new hospital.

“We have been working with multiple sites across the City of Orillia,” he said. “We are pretty confident that we will land on an excellent alternative.”

Stumpo says it’s still hard to predict a timeline for the potential new hospital as there are other hospitals in the province that also need to be built. The availability of contractors could also play a role in delaying the process, he warned.

OSMH launched a new website Tuesday for the campaign. Stumpo encourages people to sign up for more information and updates. He also hopes community members will send a letter to the Ministry of Health to lend their voices to the campaign.

“We’ve had a tremendous amount of support so far,” he said. “Our patients, our clinicians, our partners, agencies, organizations, municipalities, and local businesses ... everyone is so incredibly supportive of moving in this direction.”

According to a news release from OSMH, it is the oldest hospital in the region. Parts of the hospital were built more than 100 years ago, when Orillia was much smaller.

Additions and more patient beds have been added over the decades, but the outdated building can no longer keep pace with escalating patient demand, notes the release.

“A new acute care hospital will allow OSMH to provide timely care to more patients by increasing critical care resources, the number of ICU beds and inpatient beds, and providing more services to women and children,” the release stated.


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.

Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
Read more