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Government & policy

NB: capital spending of $67 million on health

FREDERICTON, N.B. – Improvements will be made at regional hospitals, medical equipment will be bought, and a new health centre will be built in 2009-10, says Michael Murphy, Health Minister for the province of New Brunswick.

Murphy unveiled these plans for the Department of Health’s $67-million capital budget for 2009-10. This is $9.6 million more than the current fiscal year.

“This budget supports projects that will improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare, reduce wait times for patients, and promote the sustainability of the public system,” Murphy said. “As a result of these projects, healthcare services will be even better for New Brunswickers as we continue our journey to self-sufficiency.”

As part of the provincial government’s $1.2-billion capital spending for the next two fiscal years, the department’s new budget is designed to promote economic activity while addressing priorities in the health sector.

“New Brunswick’s economy must be fortified against the effects of the current global economic downturn,” Murphy said. “This budget will spur economic activity, keep many New Brunswickers working and ensure that we stay on track to reach self-sufficiency by 2026.”

The budget provides funding for several projects at provincial hospitals:

• $1.8 million to complete the renovation of the emergency department at Tracadie-Sheila to alleviate overcrowding;

• $1 million to complete the construction of the central sterilization unit at the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst;

• $2 million to continue the installation of new sprinklers in older sections of the Moncton Hospital;

• $2 million to add more examination and observation rooms at the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont Regional Hospital to meet the clinical needs of interns;

• $3.2 million to accommodate the anatomy and histology teaching laboratories at the Saint John Regional Hospital, needed for the delivery of the Dalhousie medical education program in 2010; and

• $1.7 million to create work areas for interns at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton and the regional hospitals in Moncton, Miramichi and Saint John.

Major construction projects will be funded:

• $2 million to build a new health centre in Rexton;

• $4 million to continue design work and start construction of a major two-storey addition to the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont Regional Hospital to address a critical space shortage; and

• $12 million to continue the construction of a new emergency department at the Saint John Regional Hospital.

The budget provides $24 million for the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont Regional Hospital and the Saint John Regional Hospital to buy radiation therapy technology and to build an expansion to house the new equipment. A further $10 million will be used to buy equipment needed at various health facilities.

The Department of Health will invest $4.4 million to improve hospital infrastructure and extend the lifespan of healthcare facilities.