Province investing an additional $25 million to complete new Colchester Regional Hospital

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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The province is investing an additional $25 million to complete the replacement of the Colchester Regional Hospital. The new hospital, which replaces a more than 40-year-old facility, will enhance efficiency, access and patient safety to improve health care for residents of Colchester East Hants.

"The province already invested more than $125 million in this project, the community needs the hospital, and the hospital must be completed," said Health Minister Maureen MacDonald. "At the same time, I am very concerned about how project costs have escalated.

"Our government is committed to living within our means. We will review the process that led to these cost overruns so future projects are delivered within budget."

The original project was approved at $104 million in 2005, but escalating costs and inflation led to an increased budget of $155 million during the design phase in 2007. Construction commenced in the fall of 2008 and increased costs were identified in the summer of 2009, after the release of a tender for mechanical and electrical systems. As a result of the cost over-runs, government is now contributing $154 million of the $180 million budget, or 85 per cent of the total costs. Hospital projects are expected to be cost-shared between the government and community, on a 75-25 per cent basis.

"This additional investment allows us to move ahead with issuing a tender for mechanical and electrical systems to complete the next stage of this project," said Peter MacKinnon, CEO, Colchester East Hants Health Authority. "We are grateful to the province for its continued commitment to this vital project and will continue to challenge our design and construction teams to find efficiencies as we move forward."

The mechanical and electrical tender represents the most significant portion of the construction budget. The requirement to revise and reissue tender documents became apparent last summer when tender bids came in over the set budget.

Once complete, the new hospital will improve quality and patient safety in many areas. Automation in pharmacy systems will reduce the chance of mistakes. Better-designed space will improve patient flow and increase space available for day services. Infection prevention and control will be improved through increased separation in emergency areas and patient rooms.

The Colchester Regional Hospital replacement is weather-tight and about 28 per cent complete. It is expected to open in 2012.

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Organizations: Colchester Regional Hospital, Colchester East Hants Health Authority

Geographic location: Colchester East, Hants

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