'It's a great day': Major expansion to Penticton hospital opens
New emergency room will be next undertaking for Penticton Regional Hospital
Brand new operating rooms, state-of-the-art facilities and recovering patients no longer having to share rooms with three other people are all promised benefits of a new hospital expansion in Penticton.
The brand-new David E. Kampe Tower expansion to Penticton Regional Hospital officially opened its doors Monday.
"Everyone is walking around with big smiles ... Even the patients, who have been so used to being crowded in and [waiting] in the hallways," John Moorhouse, of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation, told Radio West host Sarah Penton.
"They've got nice chairs and an actual waiting area to sit down in. It's a great day."
The six-storey tower is phase one of a $312 million upgrade to the hospital. The tower has 84 rooms, five operating rooms and other procedural facilities.
The costs were split between the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District, Interior Health and South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.
The expansion was first promised during the 2013 provincial election by then-Premier Christy Clark. Construction began in 2016.
Doctors and residents had long called for the hospital to be expanded, citing overcrowding.
Penticton Regional provides 24-hour emergency services, surgical services, outpatient clinics and numerous other services, according to its website.
Moorhouse says construction of a new emergency room will be the next undertaking for Penticton Regional Hospital.
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With files from CBC Radio One's Radio West