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Kamloops News

More beds to open at hospital in Kamloops

Royal Inland Hospital is set to get more beds this year as storage space is converted to inpatient areas.

An announcement more space could soon open up at Royal Inland Hospital comes as the facility continues to face crippling overcrowding requiring offices to be reassigned for patient beds and forcing postponement of some 30 surgeries.

Though RIH has seen capacity levels reach highs of 132 per cent since mid-April it could see some relief by fall as another 20 beds are set to be made available for inpatient use. The space currently used for the Medical Device Reprocessing project in the 4 North area of the hospital is set to be transformed following the final phase of the project.

“Once 4 North is empty we’ll have the opportunity to return it to a patient care area. This, in addition to several other steps we are taking, will help increase capacity at RIH,” hospital administrator Marg Brown said in a release Wednesday morning.

Interior Health Authority spokesperson Erin Toews says they are not yet sure how long it will take, but the hope is the change will happen by fall. Costs are also unknown right now.

“Costs we're not sure about yet, that's a detail that needs to be worked though yet.”

Last week the health authority also sent out a request for proposals to convert space in the operating room unit to another operating room. Toews say an operating room typically can accommodate 25 procedures per week, depending on the type of surgeries.

The hospital master site plan includes plans for the development of a new surgical care tower, but the extra operating room will help staff meet more immediate needs. The proposal request is also asking for consultants to consider other related services such as post-operative surgical beds and staffing.

In an effort to improve capacity levels Interior Health Authority is also working with the hospital to ensure improvements are made to help improve patient flow and discharge processes. Another support team has been working with staff and facility leaders to improve systems and practices around access and patient flow. New initiatives are also underway in the community. Home First, Breathe Well and King Street primary mental health services are designed to help take pressure off the acute system.

Recently 21 heritage trees were cut down on the part of the property fronting Columbia Avenue in preparation for the construction of a Clinical Services Building, which was approved by the province in April. Construction is set to begin next spring and is expected to be open to the public in 2016. This first phase of redevelopment will cost nearly $80 million.

To contact a reporter for this story, email or call (250) 819-3723.

A rendering showing the preferred plan for the Royal Inland Hospital in the master site plan developed two years ago.
A rendering showing the preferred plan for the Royal Inland Hospital in the master site plan developed two years ago.
Image Credit: SOURCE/Interior Health Authority
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