McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Changes at Hamilton Health Sciences fit University’s direction

Published: January 15, 2008
McMaster University Medical Centre
McMaster University Medical Centre

Plans for expansion and consolidation of services at Hamilton Health Sciences’ hospitals suit the University’s development of health research and education, says Dr. John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

The academic hospital system today announced a plan to both consolidate and expand services at its five Hamilton hospitals. The major changes will take place over the next four to five years.

"The plans to focus clinical activities of Hamilton Health Sciences across their sites are consistent with a trend in Canadian healthcare," Dr. Kelton said. "Patients are being treated more and more as out-patients and, to optimize the provision of care, there is a consolidation of hospital programs at specialized sites. 

"For McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences, there are distinct advantages and challenges in this consolidation of programs to individual hospitals within HHS. 

"We will be able to significantly increase research and education with a particular focus at individual sites.  Our practicing nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, midwives and physicians will have an opportunity to provide care for patients in a fashion that maximally utilizes their skill sets.  That, in turn, dramatically enhances our research and educational opportunities," he said.

"The consolidation of health care to a smaller number of highly specialized buildings could mean a challenge in training our nursing, medical and rehab students for the broadest and most undifferentiated practice.  But this can readily be overcome by broadening the educational experience within the specialized hospitals and, more importantly, by moving our students into community hospitals where the type of patient and the pattern of practice are broader in nature and less specialized. 

"The FHS has been dramatically escalating that move over the past three to five years, with the development of clinical placements across Ontario for our student nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and physicians. Most notably, we’re establishing the Waterloo and Niagara campuses for the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine with strong partnerships with the community hospitals of those regions.

"This also reflects the pattern of practice that most of our students will ultimately seek:  specifically, most will be practicing in communities across Ontario and Canada and not necessarily in specialized academic teaching hospitals.

In Hamilton Health Sciences’ plans, the biggest change to McMaster’s campus will be the refocus of the Health Sciences Centre, also known as the McMaster University Medical Centre, as a women and children’s hospital.  The emergency department will become a dedicated pediatric emergency department.

The second floor of the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery will become space for the Faculty of Health Sciences’ education and research program growth. Besides classrooms, the space will be used for the new Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and the Centre for Microbial Chemical Biology, as well as the research branch of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care. Previously, the second floor was slated to be used as hospital space.

Reflecting the growth of Hamilton’s population on Hamilton Mountain, the Henderson will be a full-service general hospital with an expanded emergency department, operating rooms, diagnostic imaging and ICU. Hamilton General will have an expanded emergency department, a new regional rehabilitation facility and the new David Braley Cardiac, Vascular and Stroke Research Institute. Chedoke will have a new ambulatory centre for the McMaster Children’s Hospital services.

A message from HHS president Murray Martin, expanding on the plans and the next steps may be found here:

Access to the Best Care - Murray Minute

The plans, outlined by hospital site, are posted here:

Access to the Best Care - Plans for Hamilton Health Sciences PDF

Other information may be found at the Hamilton Health Sciences website:

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