© Geraldine Brophy
Dr. Cathi Bradbury, associate deputy minister, with Health and Community Services, talks about the planning stages for the new hospital for Corner Brook on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014.
CORNER BROOK — Health Minister Susan Sullivan is hoping to see construction of the new hospital in Corner Brook start in the fall of 2015.
Sullivan was in the city on Wednesday and provided The Western Star with an update on where the project stands.
She said things are falling in place in the process and expects the functional plan for the facility to be completed within the next few weeks.
“That’s a huge step forward,” said the minister.
Dr. Cathi Bradbury, associate deputy minister of Health and Community Services, has been involved with the project since 2011 and said the master program on the facility was completed by Stantec in March 2013.
“The main focus is to determine the services and the anticipated volume of services that need to be provided and at the end of the master program you have an understanding or an estimate of the number of beds that you’re going to need.”
From the master plan, Bradbury said the process moves to developing the functional plan.
“The purpose of that really is to ensure that you have the right number of rooms, that they’re the right size, that they’ll serve the function that they’re intended for.”
She also said at this point you get the opportunity to finalize the bed numbers.
And for the new hospital, Sullivan said there will be a total of 260 beds, 160 in the acute care hospital, all in private rooms, and 100 in the long-term care portion of the facility.
Sullivan said those numbers were not decided by happenstance.
“That’s a result of a great deal of investigation and evidence being researched around what the needs are.”
This included looking at the demographic of the area and projecting it out to at least 2026.
And Sullivan is confident that will meet the needs of the area.
“It will certainly provide all of the services that are currently provided in the hospital and there will be enhanced capacity around many of those services.”
To delve more into what each room will look like, Bradbury said they spent two weeks at the O’Connell Centre recently mocking up rooms including an operating room, in-patient room, an exam room, a labour and delivery room and a mental health in-patient room.
This allowed staff to walk through them, make suggestions on where things should be located and ensure everything that was needed in room was there.
“I actually did a mock delivery in the labour and delivery room,” said Bradbury.
Besides setting up the mock rooms, Bradbury said there were meetings with Western Health executives and management personnel to go through the list of rooms and determine whether or not the numbers were right.
She said an underlying concept in the project is to improve the level of service offered.
“The patient is as the centre of all the work that we do, but it’s basically intended to improve patient flows and to ensure that the people that work in the new facility that we have it set it up so that they could work as efficiently as possible.”
Bradbury said the patient rooms will be larger than those in the current facility and will include dedicated space for family within the room.
They will also be more universal in nature. For example, she said, surgical beds could be utilized by medicine.
Another efficiency measure would involve bringing services like blood work and ultrasounds to the patient.
Bradbury said by doing so the department knows it will be increasing the footprint and creating more “sneaker time” for staff.
“And so it’s critically important to ensure that equipment that staff are going to need are as close as possible. In the scenario of a larger footprint it’s critical, because obviously if you’re walking to get something you’re not providing care to the patient,” said Bradbury.
Another part of the project is also about to conclude as the deadline for requests for proposals for the design and the build of the hospital closes on Feb. 7.
“It’s a different kind of RFP,” said Sullivan.
The plan involves working not just with the designer and the architect, but also with the constructors of the facilities. Sullivan said the idea is that they’re able to iron out any of the problems that could arise during construction as they’re designing.