Hospital renovations put on hold

Planned renovations to St. John Hospital have been put on hold after the current plans have been deemed unworkable by hospital staff.

Planned renovations to St. John Hospital have been put on hold after the current plans have been deemed unworkable by hospital staff.

Renovations to the emergency and outpatients department have been on the cards for three years, with the funding finally being confirmed last fall.

In a story in the Omineca Express on October 27 2010, a Northern Health spokesperson said the floor plans for the renovations were being finalized and that work would begin around March 2011.

Last week however, the floor plans were going back to the drawing board.

Original plans for the renovations include an expansion of the emergency department, and changes to the way emergency ambulances access the hospital.

At the moment when the ambulance attendants bring emergency patients into the hospital they have to walk through the laboratory seating area.

The plans included changing the entrance for ambulances so that patients can be brought directly into the emergency department.

Northern Health said the work is turning out to be more challenging than was originally anticipated, since the hospital has to maintain its vital services during the renovations.

“If we could close the emergency department for three or four months and actually do the work, we could absolutely do this, but we’re really struggling with how to actually do the work while still maintaining all of the services in the hospital at the same time,” said Michael Mcmillan, a Chief Operating Officer with Northern Health.

“It’s not an uncommon problem – it’s actually a real problem in every single renovation we do in any of our facilities – how to keep them going while your doing the work?” he said.

District of Vanderhoof Mayor, Gerry Thiessen, said he’s concerned about the delay in the renovations, but confident the challenges can be overcome.

“My concern is that Northern Health has had this renovation on the books even before I was elected to council two and a half years ago.

“Basically now we’re at square zero with no plans that seem feasible at this time,” he said.

“It’s almost a good thing because it allows for input from hospital staff…and we seem to have good buy-in from everyone involved as to what our next step should be, and a determination to go ahead with this,” he added.

On May 9, Northern Health came to Vanderhoof for a meeting with the project manager and hospital staff.

“They actually sat down and really started to look at some of these issues and to identify what’s absolutely critical,” said Mcmillan.

A second meeting was planned between the architect and the hospital staff in Vanderhoof on Friday May 20.

“I have every confidence that they’ll come to a decision on exactly how to phase this work and what needs to happen.

“Our commitment is we’re gonna keep working on this until we actually get it right and get something that we can deliver,” said McMillan.

Staff have also voiced concerns that any renovation done to the hospital will need to meet the needs of the community and surrounding area for a number of years.

“One of the physicians said at the meeting last week that it’s critical that we get this right because we’re designing something that’s going to be in place not just for a couple of years but 10 or 20 years – so lets make sure we get it right and not rush into it,” said McMillan.

He added that an expansion to the hospital would be a last resort.

“It is a very difficult site to add on to for a number of reasons – structurally the addition would be very very difficult and the soil conditions in that area make it a very difficult building to expand right now,” he said.

He added that the price of an expansion would be at a whole different level.

“An expansion would be way beyond double what the existing project is and I can’t even speculate as to how much that would be.

“However, I think given the work that was done on May 9,  there is an option that they can look at that doesn’t require building expansion at this time,” said Mcmillan.

As long as the changes to the plans aren’t too substantial, Mcmillan expects the renovations can begin in the near future.

 

Despite the delays to the interior renovations,  a separate electrical upgrade at the hospital is currently underway.

 

 

Just Posted

The Binche Fishing Derby at Stuart Lake is fast approaching. (Binche Fishing Derby Facebook photo)
Binche shares excitement for upcoming fishing derby

“It’s more than just fishing,” says Dave Birdi

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read