GUELPH — As part of its plan to stay open, the Ontario government is investing over $15 million to redevelop the emergency department at Guelph General Hospital. The redevelopment will expand emergency services, including emergency mental health services, to improve access to high-quality care for patients and families in Guelph, Wellington and the surrounding communities. This funding is another way Ontario is building a stronger, more resilient health care system that is better prepared to respond to crises.

“Redeveloping the emergency department at Guelph General Hospital is a key part of our government’s plan to stay open and build a stronger, more resilient health care system with the capacity to ensure all Ontarians are fully supported on their journey to wellness,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This investment will enhance emergency services, including emergency mental health services, so that patients have timely access to high-quality care when they need it the most.”

On average more than 60,000 patients visit the emergency department at Guelph General Hospital every year, with local demand only expected to increase as the Guelph-Wellington region continues to grow. The phased redevelopment of the hospital’s emergency department will renovate existing infrastructure and enhance emergency services to ensure families have access to high-quality care in a comfortable and modern space.

“With Guelph being one of the fastest growing cities in the province, there’s a need to grow the department,” said Marianne Walker, President and CEO of Guelph General Hospital. “We are so grateful for this funding as this first phase will expand our undersized emergency department. Once complete, it will help improve the health and well-being of our patients needing mental health and addiction services.”

As part of the first phase of the emergency department redevelopment, emergency mental health and addictions services will be relocated to a renovated space within the hospital in order to expand and better connect services for patients. The relocated services will include a new short stay assessment unit that will provide increased assessment, monitoring and treatment of adult patients experiencing psychiatric emergencies, and a new emergency follow-up service that will increase individual and group counselling to help stabilize patients prior to being discharged and reduce readmissions.

“Now more than ever, it is important that individuals and families in Guelph can access the safe and effective mental health and addictions services they deserve - when and where they need them,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This investment is just one more way our government is ensuring all Ontarians have access to the high-quality mental health and addictions care that meet their unique needs and have opportunities for treatment and recovery.”

The province is working with Guelph General Hospital to finalize the early stages of the planning process, which includes confirming service volumes, programming, operational and space requirements and assessing how the project can meet the health care needs of patients and families in the region.

Dr. Alex Ferguson, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Guelph General Hospital added, “We are very excited to begin the modernization of the Guelph General Hospital ER and mental health unit. These changes will certainly have a positive impact on our ability to provide high-quality care.”