Premier John Horgan announces that the business plan has been approved for a new emergency department and ICU at G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital in Quesnel. Lindsay Chung photo

Quesnel’s G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital to get new emergency department and ICU

Premier John Horgan announced Wednesday that the business plan for the expansion has been approved

Standing near where the new construction will take place, Premier John Horgan announced Wednesday (April 17) that the business plan for a new emergency department and intensive care unit (ICU) at G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital has been approved.

“We all know that the emergency and ICU are outdated and the space is limited, and it makes it difficult to care for people,” said Horgan. “In the coming years, G.R. Baker will expect to see increased patient visits, we’re going to see more people coming to the region, more people accessing public health care, so I am absolutely delighted to announce the improvements to the emergency room and to the ICU are a go, they’ve been approved, and construction will begin late in 2019.”

G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital has been serving the Quesnel area for more than 60 years, and the current floor plan of the hospital was designed in 1986, according to a news release from the provincial government, which notes it is small and out of date, with no private rooms or ceiling lists to help health care workers move patients.

“The new ICU will provide health care workers with the space and the modern technology they need to deliver quality care for the people of the region,” said Horgan. “The new emergency unit will be approximately three times bigger than the current one.”

The provincial government received a business plan for these upgrades from Northern Health in November, and that plan was approved in March.

“What hospitals are, more than anything, are the people that work there,” said Minister of Health Adrian Dix. “And while a lot of what they do, you can describe as jobs, of course they earn money, I think people who work in health care devote themselves in a way that goes far beyond a job. The commitment they give to people in the community goes far beyond any of that, so I think what we owe as leaders in the province, what we owe as ministers and as governments is to provide health care facilities that are consistent with the extraordinary commitment of health care workers.”

Once this expansion is complete, the emergency department and ICU will be approximately three times larger and will share the same space. The emergency department will include a triage area, two examination rooms, a trauma and resuscitation room, an isolation and examination treatment room and psychiatric observation room. The new ICU will have five treatment rooms, up from the current four, as well as a private family waiting area.

Dr. Gavin Grapes, the chief of staff at G.R. Baker, told the crowd gathered in the parking lot near the helipad for the announcement that this expansion will “vastly improve” the hospital staff’s ability to deliver services.

“This new space will be modernized and will have more bays,” he said, adding that having the emergency room and ICU department beside each other will improve the flow.

Architect Peter Kallos, who is the director of development services for Northern Health, says the addition is roughly 1,500 square metres, and it will go straight north and east of the existing building.

Kallos says they plan to get drawings out to tender in June and July, award the tender in August and start construction in September, beginning with excavation work. They expect construction will be complete in the spring of 2021.

“We’re planning to move quickly,” he said.

The cost of this project is $27 million, and this will be cost-shared between the provincial government through Northern Health and Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District, according to the news release.

The provincial government and Northern Health Authority have worked collaboratively with the Tsilhqot’in National Government, Nazko First Nation and Lhtako Dene Nation in the planning process, recognizing the history and cultural significance of this area.

This is Dix’s second visit to Quesnel for a big announcement in recent months, as he was here in October to announce the new Urgent Primary Care Centre.

READ MORE: Urgent Primary Care Centre announced for Quesnel

Lindsay Chung
Like the Quesnel Cariboo Observer on Facebook

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Wildfire Service will expand its operations at Quesnel Airport

A new lease agreement with the City of Quesnel will allow BCWS to house additional crews at airport

COVID-19: Signs of the times

Hearts for frontline workers and social distancing reminders around Quesnel

COVID-19: Quesnel considers its most vulnerable

City in contact with the shelter and B.C. Housing to ensure well-being of homeless during pandemic

COVID-19 case confirmed at Subway restaurant in Cache Creek

Customers who visited the site from March 25 to 27 are asked to self-isolate

CRD reminds residents to prepare for spring freshet

As temperatures warm up residents are asked to proactively address flooding issues

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Call before you dig into spring projects during isolation: BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call gives free checks for utilities in the area of a desired outdoor project

Most Read