Ten years after it first opened, the regional hospital's former chair of the board says a bigger facility wouldn’t have solved today's overcapacity issues.
Keith Jobbitt on Tuesday said despite a chronic shortage of alternate level of care beds, he believes the amount of acute care beds offered at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is enough.
Where the gridlock problem is mostly caused by the lack of long-term beds available.
“The size of the hospital that we have with 375 beds, which includes eight forensic beds is adequate,” Jobbitt said.
“Where the problem lies is back in 1995 when we were talking to the commission. You need a good and sufficient number for long-term chronic care patients. They haven’t been supplied and the population is growing.”
He said it is up to Ministry of Health provides funding to directly address the long-term bed issue.
Despite the gridlock, Jobbitt said that patient care has improved with resources centralized at the one location compared to the previous dual hospital system.
In addition, the hospital has allowed for the creation of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine as well as various research opportunities.
“I personally believe that without the new hospital we wouldn’t have had the medical school,” he said. “Without the medical school, there wouldn’t have been the research institute and the hospital wouldn’t be designated as a Health Sciences Centre.”
He anticipates there will be further advancements coming up in the hospital’s second decade, including the ability to perform open heart surgery and better treatments and more capabilities in the cancer centre.
The hospital will be formally recognizing their first decade of existence on Friday.