The Province is moving forward with projects at University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC) to improve patient care.
The announcement was made today by Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount, Mike Morris, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie, and Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad on behalf of Health Minister Terry Lake.
Improvements to take place at UHNBC include:
- Expanding inpatient bed capacity – government business plan approval to proceed to procurement and construction – total cost is $8 million.
- Electrical system upgrades – government business plan approval to proceed to procurement/construction – total cost is $4.5 million.
In addition, government has approved Northern Health to proceed with a concept plan that will explore improvements to perioperative, mental health and cardiac care.
“The University Hospital of Northern BC has provided excellent care for families in the area for many years and these upgrades are critical to ensure that Northern residents can receive the services they need and deserve,” said Bond. “It has taken a great deal of work to reach this significant place. We have worked hard with partners including Northern Health, physicians and the Ministry of Health to develop a plan that includes essential short term projects as well as securing approval to move forward with the concept plan for major capital improvements to UHNBC."
“I’m pleased we are proceeding with some much-needed work at the hospital, which will help meet the health-care needs of the North,” said Morris. “Not only will these upgrades benefit patients, but they will also provide an improved work environment for health professionals and hospital staff.”
“Upgrades at University Hospital of Northern BC are something that those in the community and the region have been actively working toward and today’s announcement is great news that will not only benefit Prince George families but residents and visitors from across the region,” said Rustad.
The project to expand inpatient capacity will add 27 new beds to the hospital, converting the existing second floor ultrasound and diabetes clinic space to provide for a new medical inpatient unit. The project will also reconfigure the fourth floor for the relocation of the ultrasound unit. Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2018 and create approximately 29 direct and 19 indirect jobs for a total of 48 jobs.
The electrical project includes improving reliability of the current infrastructure. The work will increase emergency generator capacity and reduce the potential for widespread power outages, to protect patient safety and protect against cancellation of surgeries and other medical procedures. Construction is expected to be completed in the spring of 2018 and create approximately 16 direct and 11 indirect jobs for a total of 27 jobs.
Concept planning will now proceed for the development of improvement plans for surgical services, including operating rooms, a post-anaesthetic recovery unit, pre-surgical screening, operating room booking, day surgery, medical device reprocessing and surgical inpatient accommodation. Planning will also include improvements to mental health services, including an adolescent psychiatric unit, substance-use services, adult psychiatric unit, psychiatric intensive care unit, withdrawal management and youth treatment centre. Northern Health is working with Cardiac Services BC to inform how cardiac care will be incorporated into the concept planning.
Concept planning, expected to start this year, is an important part of the process for a major capital project, providing an opportunity to ensure the project meets the needs of the community and future demands. After concept plan approval, a project proceeds to the development of a business plan, which includes further analysis of health-service needs and more detailed information on scope, procurement plan, budget and funding.
Funding for the projects will be cost-shared by the Province, Northern Health and the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George.
“I have been privileged to see UHNBC ‘grow up’ along with the community and the North,” said Dr Charles Jago, Northern Health board chair. “The investments being made in preparing a concept plan that includes cardiac services is recognition that UHNBC is a comprehensive teaching hospital that supports the economic centre of the Province.”
“On behalf of council, I am pleased to acknowledge this investment in the future health and well-being of northern B.C.,” said Mayor Lyn Hall of Prince George. “UHNBC is a regional centre serving not only Prince George, but much of the North. We are proud of the critical and increasingly robust role the Hospital continues to play in our region and community.”
The University Hospital of Northern British Columbia is the largest acute care facility in the region with 208 beds and a hub for specialized health services. It's also a teaching hospital offering undergraduate physician training through the Northern Medical Program, run by the University of British Columbia and University of Northern British Columbia.
The hospital hosts residents in UBC's Family Practice Residency Program, and is a key clinical education site for nursing and many health sciences students at UNBC, the College of New Caledonia, BCIT and other institutions. The University Hospital of Northern British Columbia is also home to the BC Cancer Agency cancer centre for Northern BC, featuring a wide range of cancer treatments including radiation therapy.
The B.C. government is making record investments in modern, safe infrastructure projects throughout the province. In doing so, these construction projects are creating well-paying, family-supporting jobs. These investments are possible because of the fiscal plan of the B.C. government.