Second City, Second Metro: Nepean Needs a Hospital

Nepean had eyes on a lot, but not yet a building for its hospital. Image: geoOttawa (1965)

The rapidly-growing Nepean Township needed a hospital and much like Harold Denman, the Nepean Township Hospital Committee made sure its arguments for one were heard.

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NEPEAN TOWNSHIP HOSPITAL COMMITTEE

BRIEF

The following brief was submitted to the Chairman of the Ontario Hospital Services Commission on June 22, 1964:

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The lack of any hospital facilities and an expanding township population resulted in the appointment of a striking committee for a township hospital.

the 1963 population of 30,000 which will increase to a minimum of 50,000 by 1968, needs a balanced and integrated township hospital system for the following reasons:
a) Ottawa hospitals are already over-taxed; the restriction of
hospital privileges to doctors living and/or practicing within
Ottawa has contributed to the fact that only two known doctors
are practicing in the County; they have to go outside the County
for hospital privileges.
b) There are no County hospital or emergency treatment facilities,
no doctors for emergency house calls and no major medical
treatment centre. A regional or national emergency would leave
township residents unattended.

It is therefore proposed that a Class "A" hospital be built in the Greenbelt.

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This Committee has been encouraged by the Ontario Hospital Services Commission reception of our representations and now feels even more strongly about the need for a township hospital. The present 1964 population of 35,266 shows an increase of 16.5% of 5,000 persons in one year. The township has the population of a good sized city and reportedly the fastest growth rate in the province.

The two practicing County doctors give it a doctor-patient ration of one to 12,000, similar to undeveloped parts of Africa. The township needs a 300 bed hospital to serve its

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growing population; the township's debt position is such that it can underwrite its share of the cost. A serviced site is available. Support of the council, industry and residents will encourage this Committee to make representations to the Ontario Hospital Services Commission until the hospital is established.

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HEARING

Messrs. J. A. Carman, Dr. S. Gowe and W. MacRae, members of the committee, were present to present the Brief.

It was pointed out that the restriction of Ottawa hospitals to doctors practicing in the City makes emergency treatment of County residents difficult and uncertain, for if one cannot use one's own doctor, very often no other can be obtained on short notice. It is hard to get City doctors to make house calls in the Township at night, and there is an extra charge as well. Distance from the outer areas to the City hospitals is also a problem.

The proposed Nepean hospital would be a public hospital serving a wider area than the township, and would not be restricted in this way. A side on National Capital Commission greenbelt lands in the vicinity of Bell's Corners is available on 99-year lease, and the Committee has been assured of local financial support for a public fund-raising campaign, it was stated. The Committee is convinced such a hospital would lead to an increase in the number of doctors practicing beyond the City.

With regard to financing, the Township Council, having appointed the committee, is of course aware of the proposed commitment; after senior government grants there will remain a sizeable "local" share to be raised from a public campaign, municipal grants, or both. The Committee feels that other municipalities and

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the County, which would benefit from the hospital, should contribute, but that Nepean as the wealthiest suburb must logically take the initiative.

Although the preliminary report of last December of the Ontario Hospital Services Commission referred to the possibility of a 200-bed hospital, the Committee feels that current and prospective population growth in Nepean and adjacent areas particularly to the west will justify 300 beds by the time the hospital is built.

The Committee also indicated support of the idea of a continuing regional hospital planning group, representative of those concerned with the provision of hospital facilities in the greater Ottawa area.

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