Last Friday members of the GNWT grouped together to tour the new Stanton Territorial Hospital building which has been under development since December 2016.
Almost two years later and the hospital’s renewal project is 75 per cent complete.
The hospital will go into service in November of this year but won’t be accepting its first patient until May 26, 2019.
“It’s a fabulous new facility built to modern standards and has many great features,”
said Frame Lake MLA Kevin’ O’Reilly, who was on hand to tour the facility. “(However) I’m still concerned with the public-private partnership nature of the project and that will continue to require careful oversight.”
The Stanton Renewal Project has cost the GNWT $350 million to build with roughly $56.64 million being used on Northern labour, materials and services. The new Stanton hospital is twice the size of the current building and includes 100 in-patient beds – 20 more than now.
The territory is paying Boreal Health Partnership $18 million per year for the next 30-years to maintain the day-to-day maintenance costs in addition repaying portions of capital funding.
The new building has five floors with a distinct unit attached to each respective floor.
The first floor includes a cafeteria, emergency waiting room, gift shop, and diagnostic imaging (x-ray, CT scans) rooms .
The second floor will focus on pediatric care, labour and delivery and surgery.
The third floor is dedicated to psychiatric care.
The psychiatric ward is split off into three sections and has the capacity to house 28 patients at a time, nearly tripling the current amount of patients currently using the services at the old hospital. Patients in the ward will be provided an outside living area, enclosed by tall, transparent walls. The fourth floor will be designated to patient care and housing with the final floor being used to house the temporary extended care unit, in addition to housing patients who have finished surgery and psych patients who require intravenous. The fifth floor is capable of holding 25 patients at a time and will serve as the temporary housing unit for ECU patients.
Construction to the existing ECU in the legacy building will begin in 2019 and is expected to finish in the spring of 2021. During that span the fifth floor will be a temporary spot for the 10 patients currently in extended care.
Once construction is completed they will resume service in the legacy building.
Other key features to the new hospital includes three operating rooms; two standard rooms nearly double the size of the old operating rooms in the legacy building, said Sheryl Courtoreille, assistant director of clinical programs for the Stanton renewal team.
The other operating room is four times the size of the current operating rooms in the legacy building and could be the hub for newer technologies and procedures in the future.
“With the advancement of medical technology we are hoping to fill the room with robotics if available in the future,” said Courtoreille.
The psych ward will be split into different sections which gives staff the ability to separate patients if need be.
“We will keep the entire floor open at first but staff will have the ability to separate patients in the future,” said Courtoreille. “Because we live in a small city there have been times when someone who has had harm done to them has been in the same room with the person who has caused them harm… we want to ensure that doesn’t happen going forward.”
In an attempt to appease patients each floor comes with its own theme which is unique to the territory. Senior project manager of clinical programs for the Stanton Renewal Project, Maggie Jacobs said the themes are more than aesthetics.
Designs range from mountains to the arctic and will hopefully make patients more comfortable when looking for directions, she said.
“We’re hoping it works for residents who may not be confident in their reading skills,” said Jacobs. “Each floor has its own animal (picture) dedicated to it, we are hoping that if people can follow the animals they will be able to find their way on the floor.”
The basement will house the morgue and is branded with the theme of baron lands. The first floor will pay tribute to the northern lights. The remaining floors will give off the vibe of the arctic, the mountains, rivers and forests.
As for the legacy building at Stanton, it will remain the property of the GNWT who will continue its options for leasing or re-purposing. A lease agreement signed by the GNWT and Ventura Stanton Inc. on Oct. 26, 2017 depicts both will share profits from leased space in the old facility, however, if the government needs space in the old building they would be getting discounted rates from Ventura Stanton.
The agreement also states that Ventura Stanton would be responsible for marketing, operating and maintaining the facility for the next 30 years.
The next step for the new hospital is setting up the equipment which is expected to begin later this month.