The province has approved a major expansion and improvements to Richmond Hospital,
The four-phase project includes a new nine-floor patient tower that will add 113 new beds to the hospital, more operating rooms and an expanded emergency department.
The eight year-long project’s estimated cost ballooned from $375 million to $860.8 million due to plan changes over the past 18 months.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the expansion is long overdue.
“This hospital was built in 1964, the year I was born,” he said. “Here in Richmond, in acute care, they deserve a hospital built for the 21st century and that’s what they’re going to get.”
The emergency department will expand from 60 spaces to 82 spaces. The new and larger operating rooms will allow for space for high tech equipment. Pre and post-surgical care spaces will more than double from 26 to 69.
The new tower will also include an intensive care unit, a fully equipped medical imaging department with four CT scanners and two MRIs, a pharmacy and a short-stay pediatrics unit.
The existing south tower will be redeveloped to create new inpatient psychiatry and psychiatric emergency units so existing services will be in one location and brought up to modern standards. The south tower will also have a maternity ward and neonatal intensive care unit.
Premier John Horgan defended the budget increase. He said the delay was to allow for consultations with health practitioners to ensure the project would meet the needs of the people of Richmond for decades to come.
“We shouldn’t be in a place where we’re spending $860.8 million dollars to ‘make it work’ or ‘to get by’ or to find a way to use duct tape and baling twine,” said Horgan. “We took the time to get it right.”