Long-term care facility will be built first
© Geraldine Brophy
Health and Community Services Minister Susan Sullivan.
CORNER BROOK — Health and Community Services Minister Susan Sullivan has no doubt that the new hospital planned for Corner Brook will meet the needs in both the near and long-term future of the region.
In fact, Sullivan said by moving to a campus type system on the build there will be opportunity to further expand the services that will be offered at the new facility.
Sullivan talked about the status of the project during a health-care funding announcement at Western Memorial Regional Hospital on Monday afternoon.
While the money announced had nothing to do with the new hospital, Sullivan said she felt the visit to the city would be a good opportunity to provide an update on the project.
That’s why she met with municipal officials from around the region at Corner Brook City Hall prior to the funding announcement.
Following the funding announcement she told reporters the presentation given during the meeting focused on what has happened to date with the project, where it is now and what the future planning will look like.
Sullivan said the master program to look at the services and programs required in the region has been completed and work has begun on the functional plan for the facility.
“The functional plan is really tedious, but also a very technical piece of work,” said Sullivan. “And in a functional plan we actually look at the rooms and the space and how that will be laid out.”
She said this will provide a view of the work flow and help in determining what needs to go where to ensure maximum efficiencies.
The functional plan is being completed by Stantec and should be done by the end of this calendar year.
“Once that’s done then we’ll move into the design stages of the building itself.”
She said as part of this stage the province will look at how it will proceed with the construction phase, which is expected to begin in 2015.
Sullivan said the province could go with a design/build project, a design/bid/build project or an integrated build project where it starts the build before the design is completed.
She said all of these options will be looked at by the Department of Transportation and Works, which will be responsible for the construction of the facility.
“Once the functional planning and the design is done we’ll have a better idea of what the end date will be.”
When asked about the cost of the facility, Sullivan said it is anticipated that between $525 million and $600 million will be required to build the hospital. And as in previous interviews, she said that the cost in no way reflects a downsizing of the facility.
“It will be a flagship hospital for this region of the province.”
In response to a question on the Stantec report on the project, Sullivan said it’s not unusual for several groups to look at the project and come forward with a plan.
She said Stantec completed a peer review of other reports and from that the province was able to see that it will have to look at the demographics of the area, what they are now and will be in the future, and what services that demographic will need.
“So what we’re looking at overall now is a hospital that will serve the needs of the people, will be the right size for the needs of the people and will offer services in the right places.”
Sullivan said one noticeable area that will need to be addressed is the aging population and that is something the plan for the new hospital will address through the 100 long-term care beds allocated for the facility.
“The demand is there,” said Sullivan. She said right now about 25 per cent of the acute care beds within the hospital are currently in use by people requiring long-term care or an alternative level of care.
And this is where the campus build idea will come in. Sullivan said the long-term care portion of the hospital will be built first.
“Building the long-term care facility first means that we can actually, again, ensure that the right care is being provided in the right place,” said Sullivan. “So it allows us to ease up some of the pressure on the acute-care facility itself.”
As the project moves into the design stage, Sullivan said how current facilities in the region could be utilized will also be looked at. In particular, she said, this could involved locating administration offices in locations outside the hospital, like the now empty O’Connell Centre.
“That’s certainly something we’ve always considered and is a piece of work that is ongoing as part of the functional planning and will certainly be part of what we look at in the very end in terms of how we can best use all of the facilities that are currently located here.”
As for activity at the site, Sullivan said there is still work to be done to tie Cpl. Pinksen Memorial Drive into the site and some deskwork in terms of site grades, water treatment, ventilation and how to fit the buildings that will make up the facility on the property.