Celebrating South Street Hospital

1970 – 1989: A Growing Healthcare centre

In 1970, the provincial government informed the Trust that no further approvals for new health facilities could be planned until the completion of a special “role study” that would assess London’s existing and future health facility needs.

The results of the role study were made public in 1971. Sweeping changes were recommended, putting greater emphasis on the training required to provide services. Westminster Veterans Hospital was to become an active treatment teaching hospital, nursing education was to be concentrated at Fanshawe College, Paediatricians should be involved in plans for a new children’s unit and the home care program should be extended.

By 1972, the Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan (OHIP) took over joint administration of medical and hospital insurance. Victoria Hospital had to respond to new conditions as the state-supported system of payment for medical treatment and hospitalization was instituted in Ontario.

The Ministry of Health was interested in further study of the possible role of Westminster Hospital in the London area healthcare network. Negotiations began to transfer Westminster from federal to provincial ownership.

In addition, because the facilities at Victoria were “inadequate and outdated” and the long term potential of the present site was “restricted”, the Ministry recommended that Victoria Hospital be moved to the Westminster site. The redevelopment of Victoria Hospital on its new site was expected to take ten years to complete.

The proposed new hospital would also have a new legal status. By Letters Patent, dated January 19, 1973, Victoria Hospital was incorporated under the provisions of The Corporation Act for the purpose of owning, controlling and operating the Hospital.

The principal purpose of the First Annual and General Meeting of the Victoria Hospital Corporation, held on December 18, 1973, was the election of Directors to form a Board that would become operative on January 1, 1974.

In 1974, the final graduation ceremony from the Victoria School of Nursing took place; the nursing program was transferred to Fanshawe College. Hospital facilities continue to play an important role in the training of student nurses.

In 1977, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that for the sum of $1.00 it would transfer Westminster Hospital and some 80 acres of land on the north side of Commissioners Road to the Province of Ontario. Under the terms of the agreement, veterans in Western Ontario would receive priority access to 882 beds, 767 of which were available at Westminster.

With the transfer Westminster Hospital, the new Victoria Hospital Corporation became the largest general hospital in Canada, with some 1,800 beds and 4,000 employees.

In 1985, War Memorial Children’s Hospital moves to Victoria Hospital’s Westminster site and is renamed Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario, creating a unique “hospital-within-a-hospital.”

In 1989, the first cardiac stent insertion in Canada is performed at Victoria Hospital.

Excerpts from "Growing to serve... : a history of Victoria Hospital, London, Ontario." Authors: Norman. John Robert Sullivan, Norman R. Ball, and Victoria Hospital Corporation. Published: 1985 by Victoria Hospital Corporation, London, Ontario.

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A Centre for Care, Education and Training Celebrating a Diamond Jubilee The Adam Beck Era World War I and the Optimistic Twenties The Great Depression and WWII The Post War Years A Growing Healthcare Centre Restructuring Healthcare in London