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PRHC History

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PRHC History

Civic Hospital History
The first hospital in Peterborough and the 15th in the province opened in an old home donated by the city's greatest benefactor in 1885. Charlotte Jane Nicholls, the widow of a wealthy city merchant, purchased the old home, known as Moira Hall, and endowed it with $15,000 for use as a Protestant hospital.

Nicholls Hospital at Moira Hall provided only temporary space for the sick and in 1889, Mrs. Nicholls funded the construction of a new hospital on Argyle Street. She liberally endowed it for the future as a memorial to her husband. An addition and nurses' residence were later constructed and funded by the trust.

The trust financed the hospital until the 1930s, when trustees were forced to ask the city for monthly payments. A demand for more civic representation on the board of directors followed and in 1944, the trust was amended. The hospital became the community's responsibility - a civic hospital.

The city's growth in the 1940s dictated the need for a new hospital and in 1950, a 240-bed hospital was opened in the city's west-end by then Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent. Soon, more space was needed and an addition, the Hutchison Wing, increased the bed compliment to 379 and featured a 26-bed psychiatric section and a 72-bed area devoted to convalescent care and rehabilitation. When more space was needed in 1969, a fifth-floor was completed, providing a 34-bed surgical section. In 1970, three temporary buildings were constructed.

Civic's nursing school was transferred to Sir Sandford Fleming College in 1973 but remained affiliated with the hospital as it is with the Peterborough Regional Health Centre today. The same year, obstetrical services were amalgamated with the city's other hospital - St. Joseph's. A $1.5 million renovation turned the nursing residence into a psychiatric services facility, known as the Nicholls Building, in 1978.

Rationalization of services saw the pediatric unit centralized at Civic in 1983 as a further consolidation of services with St. Joseph's. In 1987, the ministry approved an Emergency Department expansion, major renovations to Nutrition Services and loading docks. To make room for the Emergency Department expansion, a new 4,400 square-foot building was constructed to house the ambulance services.

St. Joseph's Health Centre History
Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph, the city's second hospital, St. Joseph's, opened as a 25-bed facility in 1890. Named after St. Joseph to inspire diligence, charity and cordiality, the sisters worked 10-hour days without compensation to pay for the $20,000 hospital, to which 54 people were admitted the first year. St. Joseph's operated on $4,716.20 that year.

St. Joseph's was dedicated on August 20, 1890, at which time Bishop R. A. O'Connor declared the hospital's philosophy would be based on the nature of the whole person, their dignity and worth, regardless of social or economic status, colour or creed.

A nursing school with a strong academic foundation and an emphasis on holistic health care and the development of a spirit of generous service to humankind, opened in 1906. The first class, consisting of six sisters and one lay woman, graduated in 1909. The school operated until 1973 when nursing schools in the province were transferred to community colleges. Sir Sandford Fleming College's training program was then associated with St. Joseph's as it is with the Peterborough Regional Health Centre today.

Construction started again in 1908, when a three-storey addition that included an elevator and space for 12 beds was erected. In 1921, the cornerstone was laid for a five-storey addition, which would provide space for several operating rooms, an obstetrics department, a doctor's lounge and 60 more beds.

Increasing demand for services prompted further construction in 1922, 1947, 1950 and 1963, which increased the bed compliment to 224.

In 1974, a rationalization of services saw St. Joseph's obstetrical service close and move to the Civic Hospital. The facility was then used to establish a centralized orthopedic service. In 1983, the pediatric unit closed and also moved to the Civic Hospital while general beds were added at St. Joseph's. Further rationalization of services saw the emergency department consolidated at the Civic Hospital and rheumatology and ophthalmology services at St. Joseph's.

Until September 1998, the hospital was owned by the Sisters of St. Joseph and governed by a Board of Trustees. St. Joseph's received full accreditation in 1959, which it maintained until 1998, when it was directed to be closed by the Health Services Restructuring Commission, a provincially appointed body which reviewed the provision of hospital services in Ontario. The former St. Joseph's Health Centre then became known as the Rogers Street Site of the Peterborough Regional Health Centre. It remained open until the construction of the new Peterborough Regional Health Centre was complete. The facility closed its doors on June 8, 2008 and was put up for sale.

Peterborough Regional Health Centre History
In the 1990s, in a combined effort to ensure the preservation of local and regional hospital-based healthcare services, Civic and St. Joseph's as Peterborough Hospitals, consolidated all local and regional hospital-based acute care services at Civic and regional chronic care services at St. Joseph's.

In 1990, a 90,000 square-foot addition to the Emergency Department, as well as a downtown location for the Women's Health Care Centre opened. The Peterborough Regional Health Centre came to be on January 22, 1999 following directives from Ontario's Health Services Restructuring Commission that included closing one of the city's two hospitals - St. Joseph's Health Centre. All hospital-based services were to be offered on the former Civic Hospital site, which was to undergo a $52.4 million renovation. The Commission recognized this site, on Hospital Drive on the city's west-side, as a regional referral centre and recommended a new name to reflect the new role.

In June 2000, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care issued new directives that included the go ahead to plan construction for a new hospital. The Health Centre continued to operate on the two former sites until the construction of the new, state-of-the-art facility was complete.

The new hospital opened its doors for patient care on June 8, 2008. 

Servicing a population of more than 300,000 in four counties, PRHC is one of the region's largest employers with a staff of approximately 2,000, 600 volunteers, and about 350 physicians with privileges.

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