Dale Bass – Kamloops This Week
The business case for the patient-care tower proposed for Royal Inland Hospital should head for the approval process by December.
Dr. Simon Treissman, chief of staff at the hospital, described the stage he and his colleagues at RIH are at with the patient-care tower, the second phase of expansion at RIH, as “hold-your-breath time.”
The proposal will go to the Interior Health Authority board of directors for review and ideally approval.
The concept would include several patient services, including 30 beds each in a medical-surgery inpatient unit and two mental-health focused units, along with 13 operating rooms, a neonatal intensive-care unit, labour and delivery rooms, offices and clinical space.
At the concept level, it has been pictured as a nine-storey building on the east side of the hospital above a two-storey below-grade parkade.
Treissman said there have been some recent improvements to patient care at the hospital, including an increase in operating time available to surgeons. In mid-September, scheduling was increased by 12.5 per cent to allow the hospital to have nine operating rooms staffed daily, one more than in previous years.
The ORs can now be used around the clock, although most days there is just one room prepped to handle any surgical emergencies. That number can be increased, however, should there be the need resulting from a major accident or similar medical situation.
There was a time when surgeries were being cancelled due to an insufficient number of anesthesiologists. Now, with the arrival of specialists from Newfoundland and Labrador, the city has about 18 anesthesiologists.
A new orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Derek Butterwick, has also set up shop in the city and a locum doctor is coming to cover when another orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Callie Ackermann, takes a sabbatical in December.
With the opening of the clinical-services building on the north side of the hospital, several clinics have been moved to it, freeing up space for other uses.
Treissman said plans are to create a new area for treatment of psychiatric cases that arrive at the emergency department, streaming them to a new clinical area in the sector where the orthopedics clinic used to be on the second floor.
Orthopedics is now in the new building.
“This [vacated space] is creating a lot of opportunities for us,” Treissman said.