The Provincial Government made a major funding announcement outside G.R. Baker Hospital in Quesnel this morning.
Premier John Horgan delivered the good news…
“I am absolutely delighted to announce that the improvements to the emergency room and the ICU are a go. They’ve been approved and construction will begin late in 2019.”
Horgan called it a new day of healthcare dawning in Quesnel.
Doctor Gavin Grapes says the new space will vastly improve their ability to deliver services to North Cariboo residents…
“This new space is going to be modernized, it’s going to have more bays so we definitely are increasing our capacity here. We have a much larger trauma section. In the past dealing with motor vehicle accidents on the Highway and other various disasters, our trauma bay has been somewhat antiquated.”
Doctor Grapes says patient flow will also be vastly improved as the new ICU will be co-located on the side of the emergency room.
Right now they are not on the same level.
It will also be three times larger than what there is now.
Grapes says a new waiting area in the emergency will also provide some refuge for patients as well as more privacy for patient interviews.
Colleen Nyce, Board Chair of Northern Health, noted that the changes will also help with the recruiting and retaining physicians, nurses and other allied health professionals.
The total cost of the project is 27 million dollars and that tab will be shared between the Provincial Government through Northern Health and the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District.
Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson, also the Chair of the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District, talked about the cultural significance of the location of the expanded facility…
“This is truly a partnership. Without Lhtako Dene’s assistance in expediting the archeological work that needs to be done, this project could not proceed. So Cliff, (Lhtako Chief Clifford Lebrun), your leadership on this and the band leadership on this has been vital to see this project proceed. We also are standing on pretty sacred ground with respect to the Tsil’quot’in and very early on in the project the Tsil’quot’in made sure that where the Chiefs are buried, which is just over here, would be protected.”
Health Minister Adrian Dix was also on hand to facilitate today’s announcement.
He was joined by numerous politicians, including Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes, CRD Chair Margo Wagner, and several members of City Council, as well as numerous healthcare workers.