Plans to build a new state-of-the-art acute care hospital in Windsor is one step closer to reality.

Windsor Regional Hospital and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare boards have unanimously approved the first phase.

"It's really exciting because what it means we are moving forward with the project," says Allison Johnson, Manager of Communications of Windsor Regional Hospital.

The first phase called Stage 1A has been approved by the boards of both facilities.

"It's about redesigning the entire health care delivery system in Windsor and Essex County. So this is a pretty big opportunity," says Johnson.

Highlights of the plan's initial goals include:

  • looking at how services will be delivered in the future
  • improving infection control
  • reviewing operating costs
  • adding new hospital beds
  • creating a new education and research hub.

More than 150 medical leaders from both the hospital and community agencies were directly involved in the creation of the Stage 1A report.

Earlier this year, former Finance Minister Dwight Duncan announced $2.5 million for the first stage of planning.

An additional $35 million will result in actual drawings of the new site.

The new site is expected to minimize issues like patient transfers, parking, access and high renovation costs.

"Our hospitals are outdated, the size of the hospital doesn't meet the needs of the community right now. They don't meet the needs of the staff right now," adds Johnson.

Possible locations for the new site will be discussed in the next phase.

It's expected the facility will need between 50-60 acres of land."

Approval from both the Erie St. Clair LIHN and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is necessary before moving on to the next stages.

That will be discussed on Tuesday.

Once approved, the next stage will take 9 to 12 months to complete.