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Phase 2 of Royal Columbian Hospital rebuild won’t be public-private partnership

The provincial government has announced a slight change of plans for the second phase of the redevelopment of New Westminster's Royal Columbian Hospital.
The provincial government has announced a slight change of plans for the second phase of the redevelopment of New Westminster's Royal Columbian Hospital. Fraser Health

The province announced the next phase of the renewal of B.C.’s oldest hospital on Saturday, along with a slight change of plans.

Phase two of the $1.35-billion, three-phase Royal Columbian Hospital project will include a new acute care tower and a larger emergency department.

It will also be a design-build project fully owned by Fraser Health rather than a public-private partnership as initially planned by the previous BC Liberal government.

READ MORE: New helipad a ‘milestone’ in Royal Columbian Hospital redevelopment

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the change in approach won’t increase the project’s overall budget.

“The decision to proceed as a design-build model for this phase, which had not been considered earlier, was determined by a review led by Fraser Health’s executive followed by treasury board approval,” said Dix.

“Compared to other models, design-build retains public ownership and operations, and increases the hospital’s ability to respond to major changes in health-care needs in the future. It also allows us to keep our incredible health-care team together.”

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WATCH: Phase 1 planning for Royal Columbian Hospital underway

The project will include 229 new beds between the new tower and the ER, along with more MRI machines and a neonatal intensive care unit.

The province says phase two will officially begin next Thursday when it issues a request for qualifications to design and build the new facilities.

That selection process should take about 18 months, Dix said, with construction to start in 2020.

READ MORE: First phase of Royal Columbian Hospital redevelopment to focus on mental health

Officials also highlighted progress on phase one of the project, which involves the construction of a new mental health and substance use centre.

When complete, the centre will include a 20-bed psychiatric unit for seniors, a 10-bed psychiatric high-acuity unit, 45 beds for in-patient care and more outpatient clinics.

“We’re working very hard on a wide array of options for people because, for some people, if they have the most acute mental illness or acute substance use, they may need to be in a treatment facility. For others, it’s outpatient support,” said Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy.

Phase one of the project is slated for completion in 2020.

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