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Merritt hospital emergency department will be expanded

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November 09, 2016 - 4:57 PM

MERRITT - Emergency health services in the Coquihalla corridor are receiving an upgrade after the announcement of a planned expansion and renovation of the Nicola Valley Hospital emergency department.

Provincial Health Minister and Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake made the announcement earlier this week along with representatives from Interior Health and the Thompson Regional Hospital District.

Lake says in a release from Interior Health that the Nicola Valley Hospital plays a key role in emergency services in Merritt and the Coquihalla corridor. The hospital serves approximately 12,000 people.

Last year, Interior Health began a planning exercise that assessed the physical space and health-care service requirements for the Nicola Valley Hospital's emergency department.

The authority says it came up with the solution of a "modern, updated" emergency department which will increase the space to 500 square metres from the current 100 square metres.

IH says the renovation will improve patient confidentiality, allow for direct sightlines to patients, and enhance staff safety.

New features in the department will include a covered ambulance bay with dedicated ambulance entrance, confidential triage and registration spaces, expanded trauma and treatment areas, a new nurse station, medication room, washrooms and equipment storage.

The project is anticipated to cost about $5.6-million, which will be paid for by the provincial government through IH, the Thompson Regional Hospital District and the Nicola Valley Health Care Endowment Foundation.

IH is expected to release a request this week for proposals on the selection of a design consultant, who will be asked to develop detailed construction specifications and drawings.

IH says completion of the project could take up to two years.

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