Kitchener, Ontario - Health Care in Kitchener

Health Care in Kitchener

Kitchener-Waterloo is served by three hospitals, Grand River Hospital (which is a system of two hospitals), St. Mary's General Hospital, and Cambridge Memorial. Grand River treats patients with a wide range of problems and houses the psychiatric unit, trauma centre, women's and children's services, and the Regional Cancer Care Centre. St Mary's houses the Regional Cardiac Care Centre, serving a population of nearly one million from Waterloo Region, east to Guelph, north to Owen Sound/Tobermory, south to Lake Erie, and west to Ingersoll. It also houses a respiratory centre. Both hospitals have emergency departments and intensive care units. Cambridge Memorial is a general hospital, treating primarily patients from Cambridge and south Kitchener.

Long term rehabilitation and physiotherapy is addressed at the Freeport Health Centre, at the south of the city. Built originally as a tuberculosis sanatorium and home for the terminally ill, its last link with that past is the palliative care unit. It nestles along the banks of the Grand River, and is part of Grand River Hospital.

Family doctors are in short supply in K-W, and a source of great concern among residents. The Chamber of Commerce runs a waiting list for people looking for a doctor, but as of 2006 the wait is over two years. Two urgent care centres cater for much of the routine services for thousands of people without a family doctor, from routine immunisations and health screening, to repeat prescriptions and referral on to specialist services. A third urgent care centre is being added to a renovated supermarket development in the desirable Forest Heights area of the city.

Announced January 2006 was the inauguration of a new School of Medicine, the Waterloo Regional Campus of McMaster University. The campus currently trains 28 students per year. From 2007, 15 new family doctors will be trained each year in new premises being constructed in the downtown core on rehabilitated industrial lands along the railway.

In 2009, the mental health unit is slated for relocation from the downtown core to an unused floor at the Freeport site. By this, patients needing mental health care shall gain options for local long term care and monitoring. The current site for the unit is in the basement of the downtown hospital in an area in dire need of renovations and the absence of options for local long-term mental care forces the transfer of such patients to neighbouring London, Ontario.

After renovations, the Child and Adolescent Inpatient Program will be moved from a small 9-bed wing to the downstairs in place of the current adult mental health unit. Once moved in 2009, upwards of 26 beds shall be available to this program.

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