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Government & policy

NB to invest $57.5 million in health-related projects

FREDERICTON – New Brunswick’s Department of Health announced a $57.48 million capital spending for 2008-09, including major new construction projects in Campbellton and Moncton.

“This budget is part of our transformational agenda of self-sufficiency for our province,” Health Minister Michael Murphy said. “It contains major investments addressing needs that have been ignored for too long and will result in better healthcare for New Brunswickers now and for many years to come.”

Projects outlined by Murphy in a speech to the legislature included:

• Construction of a new provincial psychiatric hospital to replace the Restigouche Hospital Centre in Campbellton that is more than 50 years old. The project will be undertaken as a public/private partnership. “The estimated cost of the new hospital is $85 million, which, when combined with the $57.5 million for other projects in 2008-09, makes this the largest capital budget for health in our history,” Murphy said.

Meanwhile, work will continue on a new 20-bed forensic unit and a two-bed seclusion area at the Restigouche Hospital Centre, as the need for additional forensic space cannot wait for the new hospital to be completed. The new unit is scheduled for completion by June 2008.

• Construction of a major addition to the Dr-Georges-L.-Dumont Regional Hospital in Moncton to provide additional space for clinical services. The 2008-09 budget contains $2 million for functional program planning and architectural design work.

Murphy said his department recently received a project master plan from the Beauséjour Regional Health Authority related to the need for additional space and this will have to be fully reviewed before the size, cost and other specifics of the project can be finalized.

• Construction will begin on a new Emergency Department at the Saint John Regional Hospital, with $8 million budgeted for the coming fiscal year to begin building a one-storey addition to the hospital. The $30-million project will be completed over three years.

• $4 million to continue renovations at the Dr-Georges-L.-Dumont Regional Hospital related to the training program for francophone medical students in the city. The project is expected to be completed by the fall of 2009.

• $2 million to begin renovations at the Miramichi Regional Hospital, the Moncton Hospital, the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton and the Saint John Regional Hospital, related to the medical education program for anglophone students that is slated to begin in the fall of 2009. Murphy said the government anticipates making another $2 million investment in 2009-2010 to complete the work.

• $1-million to begin installing a sprinkler system in the approximately 50 percent of the Moncton Hospital not now protected by sprinklers. The project will cost an estimated $4.5 million to complete over three years. Murphy said $500,000 will be spent in 2008-09 to complete the three-story addition at the Moncton Hospital that includes the new Emergency Department, ambulatory care clinics and laboratory. In total, $49.1 million was invested in the project.

• Renovation of an unused area on the second floor of the Grand Falls General Hospital in order to relocate and modernize the hospital’s surgical suite and central sterilization department. In 2008-09, $400,000 has been budgeted for design work and Murphy said an additional $4 million will be needed to complete construction. It is expected construction will take place in 2009-2010.

• Relocation of the central sterilization department at the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst to the basement area of the new surgical suite addition. In 2008-09, $500,000 is budgeted for design work with the intention of moving to the construction phase in 2009-2010. The estimated total cost is $3.5 million.

• Construction of a new Community Health Centre in Rexton to replace the existing health centre. Murphy said $500,000 will be invested in the coming year to acquire land for the new Community Health Centre and to complete design work. Construction is earmarked for 2009-2010 at an estimated cost of $1.5 million.

• $700,000 to complete renovations at the Campbellton Regional Hospital for a new oncology clinic.

• Renovations to the Community Health Centres in Caraquet and Dalhousie for the addition of palliative care beds. The work will be completed in 2008-09 at a cost of $715,000. In addition to the construction projects, Murphy announced major investments in capital equipment

These include $19.2 million in 2008-09 to replace two linear accelerators at the Dumont Hospital Oncology Centre and two accelerators at the Saint John Regional Oncology Centre.

“Earlier this year, our government committed to establish a guaranteed wait time for radiation therapy to treat cancer so that New Brunswickers will receive this care within eight weeks,” the minister said. “We intend to meet this target within three years’ time, and the investment in three new linear accelerators to replace aging equipment and the addition of a fourth unit will increase our radiation treatment capacity.”

The project will be completed in 2009-2010 at a total cost of $21.3 million.

The budget also includes $13.2 million to purchase medical and diagnostic equipment valued at more than $5,000 for hospitals and $4.4 million for various capital improvement projects valued over $100,000.

 

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