N.S. to spend $2.7 million looking to improve Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre
Province seeks to improve emergency room, add dialysis unit
The Nova Scotia government is spending more than $2.7 million over the next two years looking to improve the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre in Amherst, N.S.
In a news release Wednesday, the province said the money will be used to "complete feasibility assessments, site investigations, schematic design and design development work for the redevelopment of the emergency department and the addition of a 12-station dialysis unit."
Cumberland Regional currently does not have a dialysis unit. Residents receive those services in Springhill, Truro, Moncton and Halifax.
"Our staff and physicians are challenged to provide optimal care to our patients in the current physical space," Dr. Janneke Gradstein, medical site lead with the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre, said in the release.
"The redevelopment of our hospital's emergency department, and expansion of dialysis services to reflect the care needs of this region, represent a needed and very appropriate investment in health care for this area."
The assessments will focus on how to address the volume being seen in the emergency department, which sees more than 20,000 patients each year. It will also look to add extra privacy and accommodate more complex cases and consider demand and capacity for dialysis services in the area.
In a telephone interview, Health Minister Leo Glavine said officials in his department have been looking at the capacity issues at Cumberland Regional's emergency department for several years and "the time had come for us now to look at an upgrade of the emergency department."
Glavine said the work announced Thursday would determine whether the existing department would be expanded or if an entirely new department is what's required. How the development of that work and the dialysis unit are rolled out is yet to be determined, but the minister said it would be based in part on input from the medical team at the hospital.
"They're the ones that are working there every day and so I see their input as critically important as to how the two could have some integration or simply be standalone developments once the initial steps and the groundwork is done."
A design consultant is expected to get started on the project by spring 2021.
With files from Michael Gorman