April 7, 2004

Debbie Neufert
Media Relations, LHSC
519-685-8500, ext. 74772

Shriners' Unanimously Endorse London For New Hospital

(LONDON, Ontario) - London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is pleased to announce it has received confirmation today that the Shriners Board of Directors and Board of Trustees for North America, in a rare unanimous vote, have recommended London as the site for the new Canadian Shriners Children's Hospital.

"We are extremely proud to have been chosen unanimously by the Shriners to be the home of their new hospital," says Tony Dagnone, LHSC president and chief executive. Dagnone adds, "It is a recognition of the Shriners' great regard for the caliber of our physicians and staff; the facilities and resources we offer; and the high quality of collaborative care provided by the larger healthcare community in London. Today's decision was made possible by the tenacious effort of a team of dozens of people, including the LHSC Board of Directors, The University of Western Ontario, The Thames Valley Children's Centre, the City of London, and it was greatly facilitated by the encouragement offered to the Shriners by The Honourable Minister George Smitherman in their consideration of relocating the hospital to Ontario."

Dagnone also says, "Although today's decision is an important first step, a great deal of work still needs to be done, including the completion of necessary agreements with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care."

"The new Shriners Hospital will be built at the Victoria Campus of London Health Sciences Centre at the corner of Wellington and Baseline Roads, in close proximity to the Children's Hospital of Western Ontario and the Grace Donnelly Women's Health Pavilion now under construction," says Dan Ross, chair of the LHSC Board of Directors. Ross says, "The full scope of services that the Shriners facility will provide is yet to be finally determined by the Shriners, but it is expected to be a 40-bed facility having a cost of approximately $50-million. All planning and construction of the new hospital is the responsibility of the Shriners, but we will be working closely with them to provide appropriate integration of both facilities and care."

"From a clinical perspective, the Shriners hospital will have a real positive impact and further enhance London as a centre of excellence for orthopedics," says Dr. Cecil Rorabeck, site chief of surgery at LHSC's University Campus. Rorabeck says, "The ability to have international experts on hand for consultation is a great advantage, it will also be another referral centre, and it will bolster our recruitment efforts."


London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is one of Canada's largest acute-care teaching hospitals and is dedicated to excellence in patient care, teaching and research. LHSC has pioneered many national and international medical breakthroughs. Located in London, Ontario, LHSC has three sites - University Campus, the South Street Site, and Victoria Campus, along with two Family Medical Centres and the London Regional Cancer Centre. LHSC is the home of the Children's Hospital of Western Ontario and CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics). The research arm of LHSC is Lawson Health Research Institute, which is also partnered with London's other hospital, St. Joseph's Health Care, London. LHSC is affiliated with the University of Western Ontario. Physicians and staff at LHSC number close to 8,000 and together they provide care for more than 600,000 patients each year.