Shovels will be in the ground for the new Cloverdale hospital by the “middle of 2023,” according to Adrian Dix, B.C.’s Minister of Health.
Dix gave an update on the new hospital’s building process Jan. 21 in a Zoom meeting sponsored by the Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce.
“This is an exciting time for healthcare in Cloverdale, and we’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’re on track, on schedule, on budget, for the largest provincial contribution to healthcare we’ve ever seen in one project.”
He said the cost for the project is budgeted at $1.6 billion.
Cloverdale was picked as a location because there is an need for increased services in the area.
“It’s two things,” he explained. “It’s the overall population and the need for the broad range of health-care services and then it’s what’s going to be a very significant and growing seniors population.”
The second Surrey hospital will include a regional cancer centre. Dix said it will be the fourth regional cancer centre in Fraser Health.
The government announced its request for qualifications last November, inviting companies to express their interest in designing the new building by asking them to apply to be able to submit requests for proposals (RFPs).
“That process will lead to the identification of up to three proponents who will be invited to participate in the RFP process. Then the contract will be awarded.”
Construction will begin in the middle of 2023 and the hospital is expected to be open for patients by the summer of 2027.
The hospital will have 168 in-patient beds, five operating rooms, four procedure rooms, an emergency department, 55 treatment spaces, a medical imaging department, two MRI machines, and three CT scanners.
The new regional cancer centre will have an oncology ambulatory care unit, 50 examine rooms, 54 chemotherapy treatment spaces, and room for six linear accelerators for radiation therapy to provide care for people diagnosed with cancer.
“Because of an ageing population, we expect in British Columbia to have about 50 per cent more people living with cancer in 10 years.”
Dix said the hospital is a major development for the whole area, not only for the community in general but also for the business community.
“It’s going to mean a lot more people coming for work. It’s going to become a major employer. It’s going to continue to make Surrey a more attractive community to live in.”
Dix said the government will need to increase the number of nurses to fill the new hospital’s needs.
“That’s why we invested 95 million dollars in nurse training this year, increased the number of family practice doctors, health-science professionals, and of course health-care workers across the board.”
The government will “meet the test” in relation to the Surrey hospital, he said, adding that having new health-care facilities that are top of the line help the government to recruit people.
He said Fraser Health has had historically low levels of acute care.
“That’s why we’re building a new hospital in Surrey. We need people for it,” Dix said. “We’re going to train them. We’re going to work them. We’re going to treat them well. And it’s a real challenge right now, as you can expect, because everybody in the system on every level is exhausted.
“But I also think this is the most important work you can do and we’re going to find the people to do it.”