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Work begins on new 500-bed hospital in Victoria

VICTORIA – B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell (pictured) and Health Services Minister George Abbott broke ground in July to mark the start of construction of a new $350-million, 500-bed Royal Jubilee Hospital. The new hospital is expected to reduce wait lists and will provide single rooms for over 80 percent of patients.

“The new Royal Jubilee Hospital will expand the bed capacity by close to 25 percent, provide more comfort and privacy for patients, and be a world-class, energy-efficient facility designed as a Centre of Excellence in elder care for Island patients,” said Premier Campbell.

The new 37,000-square-metre facility will have the capacity for up to 500 beds and will replace approximately 400 beds that currently operate on the old Royal Jubilee Hospital campus. The facility will provide acute care for patients who are recovering from illness, surgery or injury. The hospital will replace some of the aging buildings on the campus, including the south, east and centre blocks, which were built in the 1920s and 1930s and are no longer suitable for modern healthcare delivery.

The Royal Jubilee Hospital is a public-private-partnership between the Vancouver Island Health Authority and ISL Health. This groundbreaking event signals the end of the competitive selection process and the finalization of a fixed-price contract with ISL Health to design, build, finance and maintain the facility.

Other elements of the Royal Jubilee Hospital project will be traditionally delivered as a series of projects and include the following: upgrades to the power plant; critical program relocation; parking; medical equipment procurement and other site improvements. The total project cost is $348.6 million.

“The new Royal Jubilee Hospital will be designed to provide the best patient care possible in a safe, modern building,” said Abbott. “A more caring environment will benefit both patients and health professionals.”

Each patient room will have large windows that maximize natural light and views to the outside. Over 80 percent of the rooms will be single-bed patient rooms, which will significantly reduce hospital-acquired infection rates, enhance patient privacy, improve quality of sleep and speed recovery times. The facility is expected to open with 400 beds and additional beds will be opened as demand and resources permit. Construction of the hospital will be complete by the end of 2010, and it will open to patients in 2011.

The new facility will be designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification as part of government’s commitment to a greener and more sustainable future. Green hospital building design helps to create a healing environment for patients, staff and visitors.

“Construction of a new Royal Jubilee Hospital combined with a new emergency department at Victoria General Hospital represents a significant investment in health-care infrastructure for residents of southern Vancouver Island,” said Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong.

“This state-of-the-art hospital will help attract and retain healthcare professionals with improved education opportunities through better teaching and research facilities,” said Saanich North and the Islands MLA Murray Coell.

“This hospital will be designed to be elder-friendly,” said Jac Kreut, VIHA board chair. “The facility’s environment will provide patient-centred, best practice care for clients, the majority whom are seniors. It will also create a safer, cleaner, more supportive working environment for all healthcare professionals and support providers.”

“Today’s groundbreaking event marks a significant step in our continued efforts to improve the effectiveness of the Capital Region’s health system,” said Janet Evans, Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD) board director and chair of the Planning and Protective Services Committee. “As the region’s population grows and health service demands continue to change, this new facility will help deliver the latest, high-quality care in the most efficient way possible.”

In addition to the $222.4 million the Province is contributing, the CRHD will contribute $107.7 million and VIHA will fund the remaining $18.5 million.

All clinical health services will be funded by the Province of British Columbia and provided by VIHA, in accordance with the Canada Health Act.

British Columbia’s health system will benefit from investments such as the new Royal Jubilee Hospital over the next three years as part of the $2.7-billion health sector capital plan.