B.C. Premier John Horgan announced a $1.3-billion redevelopment of the aging Burnaby Hospital today, adding more beds and two new patient-care towers.
Horgan said the project will impact every part of the existing hospital campus.
The two new patient-care towers will offer new wards and operating rooms, a total of almost 400 beds – the majority in single rooms – and a new cancer treatment centre.
Burnaby Hospital, built in 1952, currently has 297 beds and hasn’t been upgraded in more than 40 years.
The redevelopment begins with a new six-storey, 11,858-square-foot, 78-bed tower that will include an upgraded mental health and substance use inpatient unit and a new maternity ward. The tower is expected to open in 2023, with construction starting in 2021.
The premier praised the hard work of doctors, nurses and other health-care workers who he said are forced to work in an out-of-date facility.
“You have to have the health-care providers with the compassion, the professionalism that they always bring, but you need modern up-to-date facilities,” Horgan said. “It's been 40 years since the last upgrade of this facility, and that's way too long.”
Horgan also said the emergency department will be expanded, increasing the number of treatment bays from 47 to 62. And the redevelopment will add four new operating rooms, plus 18 new pre-operative and post-operative recovery spaces.
The new facility will be built and the existing facility will be demolished in phases.
“We’ll actually have essentially a new hospital in an existing site,” said Victoria Lee, president and CEO of Fraser Health. “The majority will be new and a small proportion will be existing (facilities) that will be updated.”
During the 2017 B.C. election, Horgan pledged to first fix up the existing hospital and then spend $2.1 billion to replace it. Instead, the NDP government has opted to skip straight to replacing the hispital for $800 million less.
The new $1.3-billion budget does not mean plans have been scaled back, Health Minister Adrian Dix said, calling it “the largest health-care capital project in the province in B.C. history.”
“This is an extraordinary investment in Burnaby,” he said.
The hospital has more than 70,000 visits annually.