New women's hospital in Winnipeg arriving a decade after it was promised

A new women's hospital in Winnipeg has been completed and is set to open more than a decade after it was first promised in 2007.

'Fires, floods and pestilence,' delayed the hospital, now set to open Dec. 1, health minister says

The new women's hospital at the Health Sciences Centre will begin accepting patients on Dec. 1. (Radio-Canada)

A Winnipeg hospital more than a decade in the making is about to open.

The Manitoba government says the new women's hospital — located at the Health Sciences Centre campus on the corner of William Avenue and Sherbrook Street — is significantly larger than the current women's hospital and, at 388,500 square feet, is almost as big as Bell MTS Place.

The province initially promised a new women's hospital in 2007. It was to be completed by 2014, but was delayed by construction problems, including a fire and troubles with the foundation.

"Fires, floods and pestilence," delayed the hospital, Health Minister Cameron Friesen said Thursday.

"The building, as we know, ran into troubles during the construction phase. There was a significant fire. There was a significant flood," he said.

"The project stayed on budget, so we're pleased to have all of those challenges behind us."

The new HSC women's hospital will coalesce health-care services such as neonatal intensive, labour, gynecology and antepartum care. (Radio-Canada)

Friesen says the new hospital offers patients more space and more private rooms, and brings together health services that were previously spread out over multiple locations.

"You could [previously] have a baby in a NICU [neonatal intensive care unit], who is actually moving from one NICU to a different space on the HSC campus, depending on the acuity level," he said.

"Imagine now how much more efficient for that baby to have all of that care … coalescing around the patient, not the patient having to move to meet the care providers."

The previous women's hospital clinical space will be repurposed, Friesen said.

The construction of the new building was mostly completed by February of this year. Since then, the focus has been on installing equipment and training staff in the new space, the province said.

It will open to patients on Dec. 1.

The government adds that despite taking longer than expected, the hospital was built on budget at $233 million. It is the largest capital health project in Manitoba's history.

To prioritize safety, the hospital will have 24-hour security presence, an infant protection system and workstations that keep health-care professionals close to patients. 

With files from CBC's Ian Froese