It’s rare to see a complex construction project such as a hospital stay on budget and run ahead of schedule, but Hay River Health and Social Services CEO Al Woods says that is exactly what’s happening with the town’s new health centre.
Construction on Hay River’s new health facility, located in the town’s industrial area, is slated for completion in December 2015, but according to Woods will likely be completed by next summer if work keeps going well.
“It’s right on target at this point, and hopefully it will remain that way,” Woods said.
The $55-million, 6,800 square-metre facility is poised to replace the town’s outdated health centre and medical clinic, providing services with modern, state-of-the-art technology under one roof.
“I would say the biggest improvement will be that, technology-wise, we’re going to have the very latest, plus having the medical clinic and specialist clinic right in the same building as our diagnostic services will really be noticeable for the clients. They will notice a big improvement there,” Woods said.
According to Woods, the current health centre is faced with a myriad of problems stemming from aging infrastructure and lack of space for services.
“The old building itself needs to be replaced because it doesn’t meet code any more, and our medical clinic, although close, is not in the current facility, so we have disjointed services that way,” he said.
The new facility will host the medical and specialist clinics, lab and diagnostic services, a full-fledged emergency department, bariatric and isolation rooms, overnight acute care beds, an operating room for dental surgery, an endoscopy suite, a pharmacy, dialysis and space for the rehab team, composed of physio, occupational and speech therapists.
Along with those regular services, the new health centre will also be adding a full midwifery suite featuring two midwives and a clerical position, who will serve Hay River and the surrounding communities.
The new hospital will also feature an Aboriginal wellness and combined spiritual centre in the front of the brightly lit facility, marked by colourful glass windows.
That said, not all of the health authority’s services will be moving under one roof, Woods said.
“Unfortunately some of our programs will not be going in to the new building. Programs like public health and home care, social services, environmental health and finance and human resources, those sort of services will be off-site,” Woods said.
Where those will be located is still being worked out by the department of Health and Social Services in conjunction with Public Works. Certain programs, like community counselling, will remain where they are.
Apart from residents of Hay River, the town’s health centre serves people from Fort Resolution, Enterprise and Kakisa, with occasional service to residents from Fort Providence and Fort Smith.