While the biggest part of the QEII redevelopment project is on hold indefinitely, another key piece is moving forward.
The Community Outpatient Centre in Bayers Lake will feature primary care, 17 exam rooms, 24 dialysis stations, orthopedic assessment and rehab.
Colton LeBlanc, Nova Scotia’s minister responsible for health-care redevelopment projects, says the project will increase the QEII’s capacity.
“This facility is going to be able to accommodate up to 28,000 clinic appointments annually with around 30,000 blood collection and X-ray appointments annually,” LeBlanc said.
“That’s significant for folks that are already having to travel to a congested campus here on the peninsula.”
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Dr. Christine Short, QEII redevelopment senior medical director, said while none of the services will be new, the space has been planned for the future generation with a growing and aging population. It also has the potential to expand services.
“It’s going to be more accessible, there’s better parking, really patient-centred space that will include excellent infection control, better patient outcomes,” Short said.
“We’ve got Dartmouth General and we have Cobequid, but the huge concentration of services — especially tertiary and quaternary services — that patients from all over the province are coming to, they’re really stuck in that downtown core.”
The new Bayers Lake centre will help alleviate health-care pressures in the downtown hospital, she added.
LeBlanc also said modern facilities and improved technology can be a useful recruitment tool, as the province faces a staffing crisis in health care.
According to the province, 30 per cent of staffing in the new centre will be transferred, while 70 per cent will be new staff.
The centre is expected to begin seeing patients in November 2023.
This comes after news that the Halifax Infirmary expansion has been put on hold after the hospital project’s lone bidder failed to submit its final proposal by the Nova Scotia government’s Oct. 27 deadline.
At the time, LeBlanc said the province and Plenary PCL Health decided not to proceed given current economic conditions affecting the construction industry, such as inflation and labour shortages.
Liberal health critic Brendan Maguire said Thursday that he is pleased the Bayers Lake clinic project is on track. But he said the longer the Infirmary redevelopment takes, the more expensive it will get.
“The ball has been fumbled on the QEII redevelopment. We have a parking lot, but we don’t actually have a hospital,” Maguire said.
The overall QEII redevelopment project was pegged at $2 billion when it was first announced by the former Liberal government in 2018.
That cost has grown significantly, but there’s no updated estimate. LeBlanc continues to say it’s an active procurement, even though a lone bidder is all that remains.