||Newmarket, Ontario, (December 10, 1998) – Friday, December 4, 1998 will be remembered as the day that changed York County Hospital, now Southlake, forever!
At 11:30 a.m., Frank Klees, MPP, York Mackenzie and Julia Munro, MPP, Durham York announced, on behalf of Health Minister Elizabeth Witmer, the establishment of a full service regional cardiac care centre to be located at York County Hospital.
“The Ministry of Health is convinced that a cardiac care centre is critical and that it should be located at York County Hospital”, said Frank Klees during the announcement.
Addressing the staff he added, “You have leadership in this hospital that not only has the vision, but has the energy, the drive and the commitment. This announcement is possible because the government of Ontario was able to have confidence in the staff of this hospital to make it happen”.
Klees stated that providing service close to home is a major focus of health care reform in the Province of Ontario. He advised that the Simcoe-York District Health Council (DHC) had already completed a lot of work in terms of assessing cardiac needs in York Region and Simcoe County and plans would now begin that would result in the new centre starting to offer services by the year 2000.
Once fully operational, the new centre will provide cardiac surgery, cardiac catheterization, coronary angioplasty, coronary stents, pacemakers and implantable defibrillator services to the residents of York Region and Simcoe County.
Dr. Jack Symmes, cardiologist and physician leader of the hospital’s cardiac care program, described the day as the most exciting in his 21-year career.
“This hospital will never be the same again. We have worked hard to get to this day and yet the work has just begun. It will be an enormous task, but we are one hundred percent committed to developing our program as an area of true excellence”, said Symmes.
Daniel Carriere, president said, “This is a great day for this hospital but, more importantly, it is a great day for the patients we serve”.
Carriere thanked the government for having the courage to change the cardiac care status quo by decentralizing these important services from major metropolitan centres and placing them closer to where people live.
“Community hospitals have the ability to deliver quality, effective and efficient programs just as well as large teaching hospitals”, said Carriere. “People shouldn’t have to travel two or three hours to receive tests or have surgery.”