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BC hospitals expand in Victoria, Kelowna, Vernon

VICTORIA – The government of British Columbia has approved capital funding for a new state-of-the-art Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria to benefit Island patients, Premier Gordon Campbell (pictured) announced in early May.

“A new, modern Royal Jubilee Hospital will offer the very latest in patient care and medical technology to support hospitalized Island patients recovering from illness, surgery or injury,” said Campbell. “The new hospital will be designed to current healthcare and energy efficiency standards as part of our commitment to a greener future and will also support the recruitment of nurses, doctors and other health professionals.”

The new building will have capacity for up to 500 beds as the need arises and will replace approximately 400 beds currently in older buildings on the Royal Jubilee Hospital campus.

The new facility will provide acute inpatient care for patients recovering from a variety of medical conditions. The hospital will replace some of the aging buildings at Royal Jubilee Hospital, including the south and centre blocks, which were built in the 1920s and 1930s. The critical care unit beds located in RJH’s Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, which opened in 2002, will remain in this location. The Royal Jubilee Hospital received over 17,400 acute care admissions last year.

The new 320,000-square-foot facility will have larger rooms that provide better privacy for patients and their families, with approximately 70 percent single rooms. It will update space and equipment to the most current standard, making it a state-of-the-art hospital while improving working facilities for health professionals. The aim is to improve the ability of staff to control infections and provide better care to patients.

“This is wonderful news for VIHA and the patients we serve,” said Jac Kreut, VIHA board chair. “The new building will improve safety, efficiency and clinical outcomes for patients, clinicians and staff, and help VIHA achieve our goals in providing timely, accessible, high-quality care.”

“We are pleased to support plans for a new Royal Jubilee Hospital and provide a local share of capital funding,” said Chris Clement, chair of the Capital Regional Hospital District. “A brand-new, state-of-the-art building will replace many outdated facilities and offer the latest in patient care and technology to residents of the Capital Region.”

The initial cost of the project is estimated to be $269 million. However, the final cost of the overall project is dependent on the bids that are submitted as a result of the RFP process and the market conditions throughout the competitive selection process. The Province will contribute $150 million. The CRHD has identified $100 million in its capital plan, and the Vancouver Island Health Authority will fund the remaining $19 million.

At the same time Premier Campbell was announcing approved capital funding for Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, Health Minister George Abbott announced approved funding for new facilities in Kelowna and Vernon.

The Kelowna General Hospital expansion includes a new outpatient hospital and quadrupling the size of the emergency department. The Vernon Jubilee Hospital expansion will include a new diagnostic and treatment building. The Kelowna General Hospital expansion is estimated to cost $119 million, while the Vernon Jubilee Hospital expansion is estimated to be $81 million.

All three projects will be pursued as public-private partnerships where private sector teams will design, build, finance and maintain the facilities.

All health services will be funded and provided by the public sector through the health authorities, in keeping with the Canada Health Act. Construction for Victoria Royal Jubilee Hospital is expected to begin in 2008 and the new hospital will be open for patients in 2010.