Future secure for Petrolia’s hospital

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Mike Lapaine, president CEO of Bluewater Health, announces in 2017 a $7.5 million provincial grant to continue planning and redeveloping CEE Hospital.

The future of Petrolia’s Charlotte Eleanor Engelhart Hospital is secure.

Mike Lapaine, the president and chief operating officer of Bluewater Health, announced Wednesday morning the province has given $7.5 million for planning and the redevelopment of the rural hospital.

Bluewater Health wants to reconfigure the inside of CEEH to allow for a better environment for working. That will include redesigning and expanding the emergency department. It was designed to see 7,000 patients per year. Lapaine says now about 20,000 are served there.

Lapaine says residents won’t notice changes right away. The hospital is working on a long-term plan for health care and then redesigning CEEH for those needs. He says it will take years to complete the project.

There has not been a significant reinvestment in Petrolia for nearly 40 years and Lapaine sees this grant as a sign the province “believes in rural health care.”

He added the redevelopment of the rural hospital and the fact the Town of Petrolia is working on a health hub concept for the community could be a model for other rural communities in Ontario.

Mayor John McCharles was beaming at the announcement calling it “possibly the greatest day ever in this community.

“We’re going to keep the hospital, we’re going to preserve our hospital and keep it for a long, long time.”

For more on the announcment, see the May 4 edition of The Independent.