The money is there, but in order to use it to its potential, Guelph General Hospital (GGH) needs more staff.
The hospital reported a $6,478,861 surplus for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, up from a surplus of just over a million dollars a year prior.
Two things are driving the surplus, according to Gavin Webb, vice-president of finance and chief information officer at the hospital: "new funding we received last year relating somewhat to the pandemic, but also relating to the growth of our community and the growth of our hospital."
GGH got $28.2 million in one-time pandemic funding from the Ministry of Health last year, with part of it earmarked to open 30 new beds.
The challenge that comes along with it, Webb said, is while opening beds and providing direct care, things like support services and allied health services are lagging behind.
Nothing new, he added, noting some of that lag is driven by staffing challenges GGH and hospitals across Ontario are experiencing.
"We're just still looking to hire more people," Webb said. "When you open up 30 more beds, that's a lot of extra staff that are required.
"We have more people working in the hospital today than we've ever had. But we still need more to fully realize that full operation. It's still a work in progress for us, and we're continuing that effort."
But still, a surplus doesn't come around too often.
"What it does allow us is to invest those dollars into some capital expenditure that we are in dire need of," Webb said. "That's where that money is going.
"It's being used this year to support some needed infrastructure improvements for the actual hospital, and for our IT infrastructure as well, to help keep our patient records safe and protected."