Unity Health Network receives one of the largest planning grants in Ontario history

Christine Elliott and Robin Martin surrounded by members of TeamUHN


Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government is providing $38.8 million to expand University Health Network, including $34 million for one of the largest planning grants in Ontario’s history for a state-of-the-art patient tower at Toronto Western Hospital.

A new multi-million-dollar structure will house 20 new operating rooms including three image-guided ORs for complex neurosurgical and spinal procedures. UHN will be able to increase its surgical capacity by over 20 per cent in the next 10 years to provide high-quality care to more patients.

The tower will also include a pre‐operative care unit, post-anaesthetic care unit, medical device reprocessing department and pharmacy, and enhance the mental health program to provide even better integrated care.

“This investment will bring the patient tower on the Toronto Western site to reality which will benefit patients and their families by providing a state-of-the art facility to enable the best care,” said Dr. Kevin Smith, president and CEO at University Health Network.

The announcement also included $4.8 million to plan multiple expansions at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre including a 14-bed inpatient unit for the stem cell transplant program, expanding the Malignant Haematology Day Unit to provide outpatient care and expanding the ambulatory malignant haemotology clinics to create dedicated nurse-led initiatives such as telephone triage, drop in assessments and high-quality virtual care.

Brian Porter, Chair of UHN’s board of trustees says the projects – which have been in the planning stages for many years – have come a long way “from a proposed internal redevelopment to a truly spectacular vision for the future of surgery and the care provided by our teams.

“Nobody wants a surgery or a stem cell transplant – but we need to know that teams are here if we need them,” he said. “This investment gives confidence in the commitment to having the best care for people when it is needed.”

With parts of the TWH building 100 years old, its aging infrastructure already results in regular incidents and surgical delays – something Dr. Fayez Quereshy, vice president, clinical at UHN – and a surgeon at TWH – knows all too well.

“While my colleagues in surgery certainly have an affection for the current operating rooms at Toronto Western – because this is where we have done the best work of our careers – there is no doubt that we need new operating rooms,” Dr. Quereshy said.

“This planning grant will allow us to bring our dreams of an ideal setting for surgical patients to reality.”

The investment for the Princess Margaret will be used to plan multiple expansions, including a new 14-bed inpatient unit for the Stem Cell Transplant Program, which delivered 428 transplants last year. The investment will expand the Malignant Haematology Day Unit to provide outpatient care and expand the ambulatory Malignant Haemotology clinics to create dedicated nurse-led initiatives such as telephone triage, drop in assessments and high-quality virtual care.

“Every day we see the benefits of stem cell transplants for cancer patients,” said Dr. Keith Stewart, Vice President, Cancer Program at UHN. “This investment gives us the opportunity to serve more patients with a lifesaving procedure – one which can cure and extend life.”

With the investment announced, all that’s left is for UHN to move forward with the design and build of these new facilities – a challenge eagerly accepted by the Facilities Management – Planning, Redevelopment & Operations (FM-PRO) Department, which leads all renovations and new builds at UHN sites, while working closely with clinical teams.

“We have a tremendous team behind this project,” said Ron Swail, Vice President, FM-PRO. “From Planning & Integration, who plan and design projects, to Redevelopment, who lead construction, and our Operational teams, who run and support the sites, we can’t wait to bring this vision to life and help our clinical teams further the incredible patient care delivered across UHN.”


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