Burnaby Hospital reached a new milestone on Monday (May 30) as construction begins on its $1.4 billion redevelopment, with B.C. Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix on hand.
The hospital, which turns 70 this year, has not been upgraded for more than 40 years.
Horgan said despite the challenges of the past few years, Burnaby reflects a number of accomplishments.
“In the past five years, we've had fires, we've had floods, we've had heat domes, atmospheric rivers, global pandemic,” Horgan said, “But through all of that, here in Burnaby, there has been resolve … that we would come out of this better and stronger than ever before.”
By 2035, there will be an estimated 50 per cent increase in in-patients at the hospital and a 30 per cent increase in emergency department visits, Dix said. In the next 15 years, there’s an expected 15 per cent increase in the number of babies born at the hospital.
The new hospital facilities will include two patient-care towers with 399 beds by the end of the project, a larger emergency department and a new cancer treatment centre.
Phase 1 of redevelopment includes a new six-storey pavilion with 83 new beds, primarily single-patient rooms with a private bathroom.
The pavilion will include a maternity unit and neonatal intensive care unit.
A new 35-bed mental health and substance-use in-patient unit will also be located in the tower, and will include a five-bed unit for short-term in-patient care for patients in crisis.
The first phase includes a new surgery centre, increasing beds from 72 to 82 and adding six new state-of-the-art operating rooms.
Adding new beds to hospitals will not solve all the problems in the B.C. healthcare system.
When asked about province-wide hospital staffing shortages, the premier said they were a direct result of the pandemic and cited a need for increased federal funding.
Horgan said, “The system is vibrant, but the system is teetering and we need to support it.”
Demolition on hospital grounds has been underway, but May 30 marks the first day of new construction.
The first phase of construction is expected to be completed in 2026.