Fergus-Elora News Express Editorial
People may wonder why so much of a big deal is made over putting up a sign, but in the symbolism of government, signs are important things.
So having the Minister of Health come out to Fergus to officially unveil the sign showing the "New home of Groves Hospital" is important. As much as the announcement in August 2011 that the province had put the hospital project in its budget and given the go ahead to proceed, the sign says the new hospital will happen.
Signs are becoming more and more important. During the post-recession stimulus spending, getting the proper federal and provincial government sponsorship signs up was a key requirement of the projects going ahead, for example.
With the signs up, dedicated by a health minister who said how important it was to provide a state-of-the-art facility to complement the excellent standard of care provided by health professionals at Groves now, it becomes harder for the government to reverse itself or throw up obstacles to getting the project done.
It's a symbolic thing, but it's important.
Planning the project is continuing. The hospital has to be designed around services it will provide and who will use it, following standards and best practices for how those services fit together.
If other hospitals built recently are any indication, the new Groves will be physically larger and more open than the old one. It will likely have a large entrance area with room to divert admissions from people going to clinic appointments or meetings. The emergency entrance will likely be completely separate from the "main lobby."
There's no doubt the new Groves will have modern infection control measures that the old facility lacks; it's doubtful you will have to walk through the often flu-filled emergency waiting area to go for an x-ray or visit a new mother. There will likely be a lot more space for privacy for patients, especially patents explaining problems at admission windows or entering emergency.
It's been said, too, that this project will be designed with patients in mind - hospital officials have stressed that patients, volunteers, doctors, and health care workers will have input into the project.
All this isn't made possible by the health minister unveiling a couple of signs, but together they're all signs that the area really is a big step closer to getting a new hospital.