It's a celebration that's been a long time in the making. After almost four years of constant construction at KGH, phase one of our redevelopment project is now complete. To help mark this major milestone, Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews travelled here for a tour and to help officially open the newly renovated and expanded Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario at KGH.
"This is a hospital that has gone through some tough times but you demonstrated that when people work together and focus on whatís possible, remarkable things can happen," Matthews told the large crowd gathered to hear her in the new Burr Lobby. "There is so much to celebrate here."
The minister's tour began an hour earlier on Tuesday morning in the Davies lobby. The first stop she requested was a private meeting with our Patient and Family Advisory Council.
"I met some very committed and compassionate people who are really focused on finding solutions and I am inspired by them," said Matthews. "To have the voice of the patient and families right there when decisions are made just makes sense. I hope this idea spreads right across the province and beyond."
Patient Experience Advisor Doug Davey said the minister asked plenty of practical questions and even asked for some advice.
"She showed a real interest in what we are doing and why," said Davey.
"She was also wanted to know our thoughts about how to encourage other organizations to set up patient advisory councils of their own."
From there, President and CEO Leslee Thompson took the minister on a tour of our operating rooms, with peeks inside both new and old suites. Next up was the main attraction of the day, the official opening of the cancer centre. The expansion of the cancer centre has nearly doubled the size of KGH's cancer care facilities, creating more than 300,000 square feet of new and renovated space for patient care. Additions include new outpatient clinics, a new pediatric unit, increased space for chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and state-of-the-art technologies and equipment.
The minister visited our new chemotherapy and radiation facilities before joining over a hundred people in the bright Burr wing lobby for speeches.
MPP for Kingston and the Islands and Attorney General John Gerretsen introduced Matthews to the crowd.
In her speech, she said she had met several patients on her journey through KGH and all of them shared with her that they had been receiving wonderful care here.
"I knew when I came here we would be celebrating the remarkable success of KGH. You have wrestled your deficit to the ground and your patient care indicators are all going in the right direction. What I didn't know was how much love there is in this place," she said. "I've been blown away by the commitment, attention, the care and the love that permeates this organization."
In the event's closing remarks, CEO Leslee Thompson promised the Minister there is more good to come.
"We have turned a very big corner so keep a good eye on us," she said. "People here are energized and enthusiastic about the future and we are guided by the patients who are in the centre of everything we do."
To watch a video of the remarks by Minister Deb Matthews, click here. To watch a video of the remarks by MPP John Gerretsen, click here. To watch a video of the remarks by KGH President and CEO Leslee Thompson, click here.