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Government & policy

N.B. to invest $90 million in hospitals and equipment

FREDERICTON – New Brunswick’s Department of Health and Wellness will invest $90.85 million in healthcare facilities and equipment in 2006-07, Health and Wellness Minister Elvy Robichaud announced last month.

“In the past five capital budgets, the Department of Health and Wellness has increased its investment in important health projects by more than $79 million, from $11.6 million in 2002-03 to $90.85 million in 2006-07,” Robichaud said.

“Clearly, the government recognizes the important place the healthcare system holds in the hearts and minds of New Brunswickers, and it is making the strategic investments necessary to ensure that they have access to quality healthcare.”

Robichaud said the budget includes funding for eight major construction projects. They are as follows.

• $34.5 million for construction of the new 70-bed hospital in Waterville to serve the Upper St. John River Valley area. Another $5 million will be invested in the purchase of equipment for the new hospital.

• $20.5 million for construction of the new trauma and emergency department, ambulatory care unit and laboratory services facility at The Moncton Hospital.

• $6.7 million for construction of the new surgical suite at the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst, and $1.5 million for new equipment for the surgical suite.

• $1.8 million to begin construction of an expansion to the diagnostic imaging department at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton to house a fixed MRI unit. Currently, the hospital shares a mobile MRI unit with the Edmundston Regional Hospital.

• $1 million for renovations necessary to house PET/CT scanners at the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont Regional Hospital in Moncton and the Saint John Regional Hospital. PET/CT scanners are leading-edge diagnostic imaging tools used to detect and help treat cancers.

• $800,000 for renovations to expand the emergency department at the Hôpital de Tracadie-Sheila. The project will involve renovations to about 360 square metres (4,000 square feet) to add acute-care treatment spaces to meet current and projected future demand.

• $500,000 for renovations at the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont Regional Hospital to implement a training program that will allow francophone medical students from New Brunswick to complete their entire four-year medical education program in Moncton. This involves a partnership with the Université de Sherbrooke.

• $400,000 to begin renovations on an existing in-patient unit at the Restigouche Hospital Centre in Campbellton to provide a 20-bed forensic unit and a two-bed high-security seclusion area necessary to address an increase in the number of people being remanded by the courts for 30-day psychiatric examinations.

In addition, $4.4 million has been budgeted for capital improvement projects of more than $100,000.

The capital budget also includes $13.7 million for capital equipment purchases.