Advocate hopes officials attend meeting on Corner Brook hospital plan

Gary Kean
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Israel Hann hopes government representatives come to a public meeting and answer questions he and others have about the new hospital planned for Corner Brook.

Israel Hann hopes government representatives come to a public meeting and answer questions he and others have about the new hospital planned for Corner Brook.

Hann was called for a reaction to the province’s Friday announcement that a request for proposals to develop a detailed construction design for the new regional hospital in Corner Brook will be issued soon. He said the health -care committee he is a part of is organizing a public meeting to address the project.

The meeting will take place at the Greenwood Inn and Suites in Corner Brook Jan. 8.

“They must be getting scared about our meeting,” said Hann of the government announcement.

The health-care committee has invited government representatives, other politicians and officials to come to the meeting, which will be open to the public.

Hann said he doesn’t think anyone from the government will attend, but he hopes they will.

“The more people we can get this meeting, the merrier, because we want answers,” he said.

The committee is concerned the overall cost of the new hospital is proving too much for the government and the project is being scaled back. The committee wants to see health services currently only available in St. John’s made accessible at the western regional hospital.

“We are just fighting for quality,” said Hann.

“Are we getting the same quality of care here as the people on the east coast? What’s the difference between us and the people on the east coast?”

With functional space programming for the new hospital near completion, the request for proposals was announced by Health and Community Services Minister Susan Sullivan early Friday afternoon.

“The plan to develop the new hospital utilizes leading-edge practices in hospital construction, performance data of optimally delivered programs and services, as well as internationally recognized expertise,” said Sullivan in a prepared statement.

“The new hospital’s layout, services, and overall functionality are all being designed to complement the long-term demographics and needs of western Newfoundland.”

Upon its completion, added Sullivan, the new hospital will be “a flagship for health-care services.”

The minister said the request for proposals will be issued shortly and will bring together the engineering, architectural design and construction planning expertise required to finalize construction plans. It calls for the development of separate construction packages for both the long-term care facility and the acute-care hospital.

The new hospital will be the largest building construction project undertaken by the provincial government since the Health Sciences Complex in St. John’s was constructed in the 1970s.

“The scale and complexities of the overall project require a tremendous amount of construction detailing and design before construction can commence,” Transportation and Works Minister Nick McGrath said in the same news release.

Analysis completed to date, according to the province, recommends 160 acute-care beds and an additional 100 long-term care beds to meet the region’s chronic and long-term care needs.

This is in addition to the new 14-bed restorative care unit that recently opened in Corner Brook.

It is anticipated that construction on the long-term care facility will commence in 2015, followed by commencement of the acute-care hospital in 2016.

Organizations: Corner Brook hospital, Greenwood Inn, Health and Community Services

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Newfoundland

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