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University Hospitals Kingston Foundation has asked Belleville city council for $1 million in funding over five years to meet short-term capital equipment needs to provide tertiary hospital services for cancer, heart and health treatment to Belleville residents.

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The funds are needed to equip operating rooms, labs as well as a PET scan for early detection of cancers, said two officials from the foundation in a deputation to council.

Council agreed to a motion by Coun. Garnet Thompson to review the request in municipal budget talks later this spring for consideration after a number of city councillors supported the idea.

“We need you, you need us,” Thomson told the delegation.

Tom Zsolnay, foundation CEO and Abigail McIlquham, associate director Healthcare Advancement, sought the support on behalf of Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC).

Zsolnay informed council tertiary hospitals Kingston General Hospital and Hotel Dieu have estimated $400 million in capital upgrades will be necessary to meet population growth in the hospitals’ catchment area from Brighton to Eastern Ontario for specialized services.

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In the interim, Zsolnay said the foundation is seeking short-term upgrades worth $15 million.

The overwhelming burden to finance new infrastructure rests with local hospital foundations and philanthropy given the province has reduced its funding formula.

“Up until 2016, the split for major infrastructure was 50/50 and in 2016 that was changed to 90/10 in favour of the local community and the hospitals so it is now the province that covers most of those cost once those are approved but those are only for major infrastructure such as a complete new tower or a new hospital building. Any minor renovations are typically funded locally,” he said.

“In the cases of Kingston Sciences Centre, just in the next 10 years alone, normal equipment replacement and new innovations are estimated to be costing somewhere in the $400-million range,” Zsolnay said, adding a planned new hospital tower has been parked for the present time.

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Association director McIlquham told council the need for new equipment is pressing given acute care at the hospital extends to the entire southeastern Ontario region serving patients far beyond Kingston’s borders.”

Using health unit data, “Hastings-Prince Edward County accounts for 85,000 visits each year and when we consider how residents of Belleville are using the hospitals in Kingston, our data shows nearly 14,000 individuals accessed care last year which translates to almost one third of Belleville residents,” she said, “accessing these services.”

McIlquham lauded Belleville for working to serve the city for many health services but noted as a specialty health care centre, Kingston is required for more serious hospital needs.

“It’s clear that Belleville General is doing an excellent job of meeting patients routine and emergency healthcare needs but when those needs become acute or highly specialized, Kingston Health Sciences Centre is there to provide the critical and complex care needed for Belleville residents,” she said.

Figures showed there were 29,468 annual visits, 919 surgical procedures, 22,036 outpatient visits, 6,440 cancer treatment visits as well as 379 patient transfers to Kingston.

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