The B.C. government plans to give Nanaimo’s hospital a major upgrade.
Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health, announced Wednesday that the government will build a brand-new intensive care unit at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital for a cost of $33.85 million.
The new intensive care unit will be located south of NRGH’s emergency department and will be three times the size of the existing facility. Features include 12 beds, overhead patient lifts, a medication room, two consultation rooms, single-patient rooms and a kitchenette.
Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2020 according to Dix, who told reporters at NRGH that a new ICU facility is badly needed in Nanaimo, citing a 2013 external review of Island Health’s ICU facilities that called the hospital’s existing facility one of the worst in Canada. Dix said NRGH’s existing facility was built in the 1970s and is simply old and outdated.
“The current space has safety issues due to limited room size layouts, lack of storage space and clutter and difficulty moving patients into and out of the ICU as well as within in the unit,” he said.
Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog called the announcement extremely important for the city.
“This was an important priority for the hospital, for our community; the government has stepped up to the plate when it was needed,” he said. “It will provide the kind of care that everyone expects and wants and needs. When your family is in crisis you want to know that they are getting the best medical service possible and with the announcement of this unit here this morning that is exactly what is going to happen.”
Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health, said in the press release that the health authority is thrilled for patients, staff and physician partners.
“For close to five decades, our critical care teams in the ICU have worked tirelessly to provide safe, quality intensive care to patients experiencing critical illness and injury. This new unit will provide our critical care teams with an excellent environment for the delivery of compassionate and expert care,” she said.
According to the province, visits to the Nanaimo hospital’s ICU are expected to reach nearly 2,500 in 2018, and is anticipate to grow to approximately 3,250 visits by 2033.
The project is a cost-sharing agreement between the province, Nanaimo Regional Hospital District and the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation. It is expected to be open to the public in 2021.