EXCLUSIVE: Health Minister calls south Niagara hospital plan ''ambitious''
That's how Ontario's Health Minister characterizes a proposal by the Niagara Health System's supervisor to build a new hospital in south Niagara.
Deb Matthews points out to 610 CKTB's Kevin Jack, Dr Kevin Smith has made a case for some savings too, by closing hospitals in Niagara Falls, Welland, Fort Erie & Port Colborne in his plan.
Dr Smith projects a new build would cost $850-million over 30 years, compared to $1.1-billion to maintain existing sites. He also expects consolidation would save the NHS over $10-million/year.
Dr Smith is now focused on getting feedback on his plan, a discussion Matthews says she'll be watching very carefully.
You can weigh in on the proposal & ask questions of Dr Smith when he joins Tom McConnell to take your calls Friday from 11am-12pm on Newstalk 610 CKTB.
A polling firm will also be calling 1000 Niagara homes to find out what they think.
The NHS supervisor said Thursday, he should have a final report for the Health Minister in mid-June, but Matthews doesnt expect one to land on her desk for "many months".
From there, Matthews says Smith's plan would go through a number of processes at Queen's Park. She points out lots of hospitals are looking for approvals on capital construction.
Listen to Kevin Jack's full interview with Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews here.
Related story: NHS supervisor pitches mega hospital for South Niagara