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Outdated Haida Gwaii hospital getting $50M replacement

Apr 13 2012

A Haida Gwaii hospital, highlighted last year in the legislature for its poor conditions, will be replaced with a new $50million facility, the B.C. government announced Thursday.

Detailed planning on the new Queen Charlotte hospital will start this spring, and money was set aside in the February provincial budget, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The facility is expected to include acute and residentialcare beds, as well as outpatient and public health services, which will allow residents of the remote island to access better health care without having to leave the community, the government said.

Haida Gwaii is a chain of islands more than 250 kilometres northwest of Vancouver Island.

The existing Queen Charlotte Islands General Hospital is 62 years old and serves about 4,800 people.

The Opposition NDP highlighted what it called the shocking state of the facility in the legislature last June, including a morgue housed in a temporary trailer and chemotherapy drugs mixed in a wooden shed.

At the time, the NDP pointed to a letter from the North West Regional Hospital District, saying the outdated facility had a "tremendous negative impact on families and human dignity."

"In the position of political desperation, the government is throwing money all over the place," said NDP health critic Mike Farnworth. "I'm happy they decided to find it. I just wish it hadn't taken so long."

The health ministry said the $50-million price tag - to be split 60-40 between the province and the North West Regional Hospital District - could change as plans and contracts are finalized.

The new hospital is expected to be built near the existing facility, with site preparation beginning as early as later this year.

An $11-million Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre also opened in 2008.


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