On Monday, October 7, John Rustad and several community members toured the new emergency entrance of St. John Hospital which will be complete in March 2014.
“It’s nice to have an opportunity to actually be here and see this,” said Rustad, MLA for the Nechako Lakes region and Minister for Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. “For a number of years now, Gerry Thiessen has come to talk to me about what the priorities are in Vanderhoof. And this is certainly one of the ones that was always talked about and on the top… It’s very rewarding seeing this happen.”
Five million dollars have been spent on the renovations in Vanderhoof as part of the $8.4 billion the province has spent on updating and replacing medical facilities.
Renovations include removing the asbestos from the floor, as well as a new waiting room for families of patients in emergency care. There are also plans for improvements to the reception area and proper ventilation and cooling systems.
Doctors, lab technicians, CNC representatives, city officials, Northern Health representatives, construction workers and contractors were all in attendance for Rustad’s tour. Every one of them played a part in the renovations and Rustad recognized their contributions.
“This is a project that really shows community involvement,” said Gerry Thiessen, mayor of Vanderhoof. “We are a hub when it comes to hospital health care, this is a priority for the whole region. Everyone had to make sure that what happened here made sense to both the doctors and staff.”
“It’s great to see across the province that B.C. is number one in many categories in health care across Canada such as patient satisfaction and more importantly patient outcome,” said Rustad. “It’s great to have a facility but it’s the people who really make it work.”
The tour was guided by April Hughes, Health Services Administrator for Northern Health. She explained to everyone what each partition in the renovation area was going to be and all in attendance could see her vision for smoother patient flow.
“It will be great because it’s utilizing relatively unused space,” added Dr. Sean Ebert.
Everyone was then taken inside to view the hospital proper and show off the many colourful drawings and inscriptions patients and family have added to the interior walls of the hospital.
Rustad thanked the doctors, officials and organizers who helped make the renovation possible as well as recognizing he was standing on Saik’uz First Nation territory.