The Nanaimo Regional Hospital District (NRHD) has confirmed its five major areas of focus for capital planning and advocacy are the patient tower replacement, new cancer centre, cardiac catheterization lab and a new high acuity unit, all to be located at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH), as well as a long-term care facility in the region.
“These five projects are vital to improving access to essential healthcare services for residents north of the Malahat,” said Ian Thorpe, NRHD chair. “The NRHD is committed to funding its share towards these projects. To meet this commitment, we will consider many factors including residents’ ability to support the tax increases needed and advocate for the Province of B.C. to fund a greater share of the costs.”
The NRHD Select Committee will lead the development of an advocacy strategy for the projects, according to a media release by the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN). This will be an evolving and collaborative process, drawing on expertise from First Nations, stakeholders and community leaders. The strategy will highlight the stark difference in the standard of healthcare between the south island and the central/north island regions and why these projects need to be a provincial priority to close this gap. If the provincial government approves the projects, the NRHD said it will be ready to proceed.
While regional hospital district funding varies to some extent across the province, typically the NRHD, like other hospital districts, provides 40 per cent funding for capital equipment and projects for local health facilities. The province, through Island Health, provides the remaining 60 per cent of the capital funding, according to the release. Island Health pools both provincial and NRHD funding, along with other sources such as charitable foundations, to maintain, improve and build healthcare facilities.
The NRHD said it will commit to 40 per cent of the capital costs of the NRGH patient tower replacement, cardiac catheterization lab, new high acuity unit and new long-term care facility. It will also advocate that the costs related to the cancer centre be paid 100 per cent by the province. The goal is to accumulate reserves to reduce reliance on debt and prepare the NRHD to meet its partnership funding obligations for these priority projects.
The NRHD is an independent entity and its sole purpose is to provide capital funding (which includes equipment, land and physical structures) to Island Health in support of five local healthcare facilities under the Hospital District Act. These facilities are NRGH and Dufferin Park Lodge in Nanaimo, Trillium Lodge and Oceanside Health Centre in Parksville and Eagle Park Health Care Facility in Qualicum Beach.