Construction begins on new Nanaimo ICU

Construction is underway on a new intensive care unit (ICU) in Nanaimo. || B.C. government photo.
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Construction is underway on a new modern intensive care unit (ICU) at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH). It is expected to open in 2023.

The new ICU will be three times the size of the current unit and will include improvements such as 12 larger singe-patient rooms, ceiling mounted service booms, overhead patient lifts, a medication room, a family consult room and a staff break room, according to a news release from the province.

“This past year has demonstrated how crucial it is to invest in and maintain a strong public health-care system,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health. “The need for a new ICU for the people of Nanaimo was clear and I’m proud that our government responded with both a technological upgrade and an expansion in size.”

The $41.57 million price tag for the unit will be shared between the province, the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District and the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation.

The unit will also include space for a transitional high-acuity units for critical-care patients who need less monitoring than in ICU, the province said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how important it is for our region to have state-of-the-art medical facilities and sufficient resources to respond to the critical health-care needs of our residents. The new ICU will be a significant addition to our local hospital,” said Ian Thorpe, Nanaimo Regional Hospital District chair.

The current 10-bed ICU was built in 1970. A formal request was received from Island Health in 2017 and the ministry of health moved forward with planning and approval.

“This new and expanded ICU is wonderful news for the people of Nanaimo and surrounding area,” said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo. “The community has been advocating for a new ICU for years, and I am proud to be part of the government that is delivering the services they so need.”

The province said the project will create about 300 jobs.

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