The third and final phase of the St. Mary’s Hospital expansion will be delayed by at least six months as Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) reviews its priorities for health care on the Sunshine Coast.
VCH decided it would make sense to put renovations to the existing building on hold because the original plans were drawn up in 2007, VCH senior media relations officer Anna Marie D’Angelo said Tuesday.
“Things can change quite a bit over that period,” D’Angelo said. “We want to get it right. That’s why we’re taking an extra six months.”
Among the challenges that were not evident in 2007 were the region’s population growth, the increased need to treat elderly patients for multiple complex chronic diseases, and greater need for inpatient acute care for mental health and addictions patients.
VCH will develop a site opportunities plan after consulting with local governments, St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, St. Mary’s Hospital/Health Care Auxiliary and the shíshálh (Sechelt) First Nation.
The total project budget is the same and there is no revised target date for completion, D’Angelo said.
VCH has also announced that public consultations on a possible name change for the 83-year-old hospital have concluded, with more than 550 residents sharing their ideas and opinions.
“Many spoke in support of changing the name to something that reflects the hospital’s geographic location, as well as a possible step forward in reconciliation with the local First Nations community,” VCH said in a June 17 news release.
“On the other hand, many also expressed support for retaining the original name, with the anticipated cost of changing it cited as the most common reason. This was followed by a sense that it is important to retain the name ‘St. Mary’s’ from a historical perspective.”
VCH said it will review the public feedback, including comments from local governments and other organizations, before deciding if a new name should be proposed to the provincial government under the naming protocol for publicly funded buildings.
“Making a recommendation will certainly be difficult given the range of views and emotions, but we will carefully review each comment before doing so,” VCH chair Kip Woodward said in the release.
No timeline has been set for the final decision.
© Coast Reporter