Hospital Opens for Tours

Today, Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) celebrated their 15th anniversary by giving tours of their outpatient area.  That included a look at their Dialysis unit, Diagnostic Imagery, the Birthing Unit as well as providing some general information about their services.  NHH employs over 600 people and is a $71M/year operation; it’s twice the size of the previous hospital and provides a wide range of services.  In addition they have a satellite Mental Health Clinic that features a walk-in clinic.  During the tour, the Directors of each unit provided statistics and were open for questions.  The point of the exercise was to help get the word out what services the hospital  provides but it was also clear that staff were very happy with the financial support provided by the people of Cobourg.  Many of the pieces of equipment were labelled with their cost and that they had been donated by citizens

NHH Open House - CT Scanner
NHH Open House – CT Scanner

The most impressive area (for me anyway) was Diagnostic imaging with its MRI, CT Scan (photo at right) and recently acquired Fluoroscopy machine which allows “live” X-rays. See photos below.

Statistics and highlights

Emergency and Inpatient services were not part of the tour but information was provided.

  • Emergency Department is open 24/7/365, last year there were 35,000 patient visits – an increase of 26% since the Hospital opened.
  • Intensive Care – 6 private rooms with life-saving technologies such as cardiac and arterial monitoring and respiratory ventilation and pressure support
  • Medical/Surgical Inpatient Care – NHH has a total of 108 beds but sometimes accommodates more.  E.g. today there were 117 patients
  • Maternal/Child Care – no longer called delivery rooms but instead called birthing suites – NHH has 6 plus a dedicated operating room for Caesarian sections.  There is no nursery –  new-born babies stay in their mother’s room.  There are now 550 births per year – up 65% since 2003.
  • Surgical Services – 5,000 cases per year – both day surgery and inpatient surgical services.
  • Palliative Care. Last year (2017/18), 335 patients received palliative care at NHH – 16% more than the past two years.  NHH is working with Community care on the new Hospice (Ed’s House) which will provide an alternative (see link below).
  • Dialysis – There are currently 12 places (chairs) but there is a wait list – several patients must go to Peterborough.  Patients come 3 times a week for 3 to 4 hours.  It is hoped to expand the facility  by 2 places.  There were 7,200 patient visits last year – a 20% increase from the previous year.
  • Access to Specialists – there are 18,000 cases per year where specialists see patients at NHH.
  • Telemedicine – In addition, the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTM) provides a room where someone can access a specialist remotely.  There were over 1000 such “visits” last year.
  • The Cancer treatment area which provides chemotherapy and more recently immunotherapy has grown to now treat 8,000 patients.  Like the dialysis unit, this is a satellite of Durham hospital – doctors from there come to Cobourg to treat local patients.
  • Diagnostic Imaging (see photos below).  The MRI has treated 68,000 patients since 2007 and Director Ian Moffat explained that it is past the time to get a replacement machine.  The CT Scan is available 24/7 but it too needs to be replaced.  It provides 4,000 exams per year.  A fluoroscopy unit was added last month and allows for real-time imaging.  There are also other machines.
  • Day Surgery – Dr. Stratford demonstrated some microsurgery that can be done in the Day surgery operating room.  All visitors had to wear gowns and plastic hats – see photo.
  • Lab – NHH has its own lab for most tests and keeps a supply of blood and plasma on hand.  Some tests are couriered to Peterborough with results coming back via their computer connection.
  • Mental Health – opened a year ago at what I call the M&M plaza, it allows walk-in counselling and help if someone needs more advanced care.  It’s open Tuesdays 8am to 4pm and Thursdays 10am to 6pm.

A lot of the information provided was news to many of those on the tour (about 15 of us – but they had several tours) – our hospital seems to be staffed by knowledgeable people with equipment to cover all bases.  And it’s always good to have communication exercises like these tours.


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Walter L. Luedtke
5 years ago

Seems that we should be grateful indeed for having a near ‘state of the art’ hospital.
Emergency service is still spotty and there seem to be incidents of hallway care.
However, let’s see what the Ford government does with healthcare and how that will affect NHH.
“The government has no mandate to cut, privatize, engage in mega-mergers of hospitals or other services, roll back gains that were made last year, and other negative proposals that have been floated or implemented since the Ford government took power.” Ontario Health Coalition

5 years ago

We are amazingly fortunate to have a facility like NHH doorsteps away. I had a first hand opportunity to be on the receiving end of services, volunteers and technicians in the nuclear medicine wing this week. I simply couldn’t get over how cordial and professional each individual was in the department and the sense of comraderie I felt among the staff. Someone has created and is creating an amazing culture at NHH! Just another fabulous reason to live in Cobourg.

Pilgrim Pete
Reply to  Dragonfly
5 years ago

Have you been in the er recently? I was in with a group of nurse Cratchit’s. A gaggle I would never want to meet again.

Jennifer Gillard
Reply to  Pilgrim Pete
5 years ago

Sorry your Emergency experience was not a good one, Pilgrim Pete. NHH welcomes feedback on patient experience, either pro and con, so we know what we’re doing well, and where we need to improve. See this link to a page on our website with details on how you can reach out directly to members of our team register your concern and help us do better:
Jennifer Gillard, NHH Public Affairs