Emergency department expansion launched at Merritt hospital | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Emergency department expansion launched at Merritt hospital

MERRITT - Emergency health services in the Coquihalla corridor will be strengthened thanks to a planned expansion and renovation of the Nicola Valley Hospital and Health Centre's emergency department.

Today, Health Minister Terry Lake and Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart joined representatives from Interior Health, the Thompson Regional Hospital District, and the Nicola Valley Health Care Endowment Foundation to announce the launch of the new construction project.

"The Nicola Valley Hospital and Health Centre plays a key role in the provision of emergency health services in Merritt and the Coquihalla corridor," said Lake. "Whether it's for a broken arm, injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident or any other emergency health- care needs, this important investment in Merritt's emergency department will ensure that patients will get it in a state-of-the-art health-care environment."

The Nicola Valley Hospital and Health Centre is located in Merritt, at the intersection of four busy highways, including the Coquihalla Highway. Built in 1964, the hospital serves a population of approximately 12,000 people.

"Hospitals and health centres are the cornerstones of communities," said Tegart. "When people are deciding where to live, they look to the availability of modern services to help make those decisions, and health care is no exception. I'm so pleased to see this project moving forward - and excited about how it might shape the community of Merritt in years to come."

In 2015, Interior Health undertook a planning exercise that assessed the physical space and health-care service requirements for the Nicola Valley Hospital's emergency department. Recognizing that the emergency department's footprint was originally designed to support the community's needs of a half-century ago, patient access and flow, safety, infection prevention and control, and privacy and confidentiality were evaluated.

The result is a modern, updated emergency department that will increase the dedicated department space to 500 square metres (approximately 5,380 square feet), from the current 100 square metres (approximately 1,076 square feet). The renovation will improve patient confidentiality, allow for direct sightlines to patients, and enhance staff safety.

"This renovation and expansion will change the face of the Nicola Valley Hospital and Health Centre," said Erwin Malzer, Interior Health board chair. "Our employees and physicians do outstanding work providing excellent emergency care in the region. This project will allow our employees and physicians to do the work they do best, in an environment that meets today's best practice standards."

"The Nicola Valley is a beautiful region, travelled by many tourists and residents each year. The Thompson Regional Hospital District is pleased to partner in a project that will benefit and support the health of so many people for many years to come," said Peter Milobar, chair of the Thompson Regional Hospital District.

"The community has looked forward to this project for a long time," said Jean Perog, president of the Nicola Valley Health Care Endowment Foundation. "We are so pleased to be part of this important hospital project - it will make our hospital, which is already a great place, into something even better, for all residents of our region."

Some of the features will include: a covered ambulance bay with dedicated ambulance entrance; confidential triage and registration spaces; expanded trauma and treatment areas, with emphasis on increased privacy and better infection control measures; a new nurse station, medication room, washrooms and equipment storage.

The project will be built to take advantage of natural light, and importantly will also stay close to medical imaging, the laboratory, and the inpatient unit.

The Nicola Valley Hospital and Health Centre emergency department project is anticipated to cost approximately $5.6 million, to be shared by the Province of British Columbia through Interior Health, the Thompson Regional Hospital District, and the Nicola Valley Health Care Endowment Foundation.

This week, Interior Health will release a request for proposals for the selection of a design consultant, who will be tasked with developing detailed construction specifications and drawings. Future steps in the process will include tendering for a general contractor and, finally, the construction itself. Completion of the project is anticipated to take approximately 20-24 months.

News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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