Major hospital projects announced in Halifax area

Major hospital projects announced in Halifax area

Nova Scotia’s premier says work on major health infrastructure projects announced Thursday for the Halifax regional community will continue “without delay.”

As part of the plan, Houston said his administration is close to finalizing a deal on the Halifax Infirmary project.

The agreement will see Plenary PCL Health – a construction company – build a new patient tower with four additional operating rooms and a new emergency room. A new cancer center is also being built on the site of the infirmary.

“Our healthcare professionals deserve modern facilities that enable them to provide the best care to their patients. It’s important to their jobs and their mental health and well-being,” Premier Tim Houston said in a press release.

“If we’re serious about recruiting more people for them, we need to give them a place they want to work.

“That will be expensive. But this is about doing it right and saving time.”

The infirmary rehabilitation project was priced at $2 billion when the former Liberal government first announced it in 2016.

But in June, the province said the cost would likely be significantly higher due to inflation. The province has not released a revised estimate for the project.

The government also shared details on new construction and extensions to existing facilities in the HRM. This contains:

  • Expansion of Dartmouth General Hospital to include a new emergency room and more beds
  • Addition of new inpatient services at Cobequid Community Health Center in Lower Sackville
  • Construction of two self-contained community transition centers in HRM, including one near the Bayers Lake Community Ambulance Center

Houston says leases have been signed for the land in the new off-site buildings and “considerable work” has been done on the design of the new patient tower.

The PM said Thursday it was too early to say how much all the work would cost, but said it would be in the billions.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties are demanding transparency.

“We’re happy to see it today, but obviously we’re very concerned about the lack of detail,” said Claudia Chender, head of the NS NDP.

Brendan McGuire, the Liberal health critic, said when projects of this magnitude are announced and no financial details are given, “they tend to inflate costs”.

In response, Houston said his administration will find the necessary funds to complete the projects.

“It’s a generational investment, it’s been talked about for seven years,” Houston told CTV Atlantic. “It’s a generational investment, but it’s about getting the facilities we need in this province to meet the needs of Nova Scotians. Whatever it costs, it will cost.”

dr Michael Clory, site manager at Cobequid Community Health Centre, says patient visits have more than doubled to 52,000 a year in his 17 years at the facility.

Clory is happy that the project is now moving forward at his facility.

“There was no long-term plan to address population demand and population growth outside [the] Peninsula or Halifax, and we know that Bedford, Sackville, Fall River is the fastest growing community in the province,” Clory said.

The government also says it will work with the medical community and community groups to begin planning the construction of:

  • a new campus for mental health and addiction
  • a new rehabilitation and arthritis center in Nova Scotia
  • a new center of excellence for heart health

The province says it plans to move patients from “distressed” areas of Victoria General Hospital before the new patient tower is completed. Laboratory services will also be moved out of the MacKenzie building.

At the same time, according to the province, work is being carried out on the announced projects.

With Canadian Press files

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