Nov. 2, 2007
WATERVILLE (CNB) - Health Minister Michael Murphy and Supply and Services Minister Roly MacIntyre today officially took part in a ribbon cutting for the new, $85-million Upper River Valley Hospital in Waterville. The hospital will open to patients on Nov. 18.
Murphy said the new hospital is in keeping with the government's commitment to provide health care services to New Brunswickers in their homes or communities to the greatest extent possible.
"This new state of the art hospital will greatly improve health care services to residents of the upper river valley area, through the enhancement of existing services and the addition of new services that were not previously available locally," Murphy said. "This means that most essential health care services are now available within the upper river valley, and patients will no longer have to travel to larger centres such as Fredericton or Saint John for more specialized health service."
"The Upper River Valley Hospital is the largest capital building project to be undertaken in New Brunswick in recent years," Supply and Services Minister Roly MacIntyre said. "It is the most modern health care facility in our province and is quickly becoming the envy of other health care institutions throughout the region."
Among those who joined MacIntyre and Murphy for the ribbon cutting were Mardi Cockburn, chair of the board of directors of River Valley Health; Joy VanTassel, facility manager for the new hospital; and Hollis Cole, ADI Group Inc. of Fredericton, which designed and managed construction of the new hospital.
"We are delighted to celebrate this special event with everyone who helped make the Upper River Valley Hospital a reality," Cockburn said. "The hospital will offer a range of primary care services, as well as various specialty services. It is a first-class facility with a dedicated team of professionals to serve the residents of the Upper River Valley."
In addition to being the province's newest hospital, the Upper River Valley Hospital is also the most technologically advanced and environmentally friendly.
One technological feature is a paperless electronic clinical documentation system that allows health care providers to document information about patient care without picking up a pen.
The system is available for inpatient and outpatient care, and will help improve patient care by making health information instantly accessible to authorized physicians and other health professionals anywhere in the health region.
"This means instant access to patient information to provide quicker care in an emergency, and an ability to immediately share information and consult with other health care providers outside the hospital," Murphy said. "This ability to provide better care, more quickly, is driving our efforts to make better use of information and computer technology to improve patient care around the province, including the creation of an electronic health record for all New Brunswickers."
MacIntyre said the new hospital will be caring for the environment as well as patients.
"Everything from the collection of plants outside the hospital to collection of rainwater that will be used in washrooms was done with the environment in mind," he said. "The hospital was built using locally-produced materials and standards set by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, is efficient in energy use and water consumption, and includes the best in modern ventilation systems."
Built on a 30-hectare (70 acre) site adjacent to the new four-lane divided highway, the hospital has three levels and is divided into four wings, covering about 16,725 square metres (190,000 square feet).
The surgical suite has three operating rooms, as well as an endoscopy room. There are three labour/delivery rooms and eight private postpartum bedrooms, two in-patient units, including a 31-bed unit designed for obstetrics, surgical and medical patients, and a 39-bed unit designated for medical, palliative and pediatric patients. There are five beds in this unit for concentrated care.
In the outpatient and emergency areas, there are 10 critical care rooms, six observation rooms, two trauma rooms, two isolation rooms, two rooms for medical procedures and two ambulance bays. A new intern residence is directly linked to the new hospital at the west side of the emergency department.
In addition to current patient services offered in the region, including satellite dialysis, the Upper River Valley Hospital will also provide new and enhanced services such as echocardiography, bone densitometry, MRI (mobile) and in-hospital psychology. The new services will begin as specialized staff is in place.
The transfer of patients from the Carleton Memorial Hospital in Woodstock and the Northern Carleton Hospital in Bath is set to begin on Nov. 18. Those two hospitals will be closed once the transfer of patients and staff is completed that day.
Twenty-four hour Emergency Department service will begin at the Upper River Valley Hospital at 6 a.m. on Nov. 18, and ER service will end at the Carleton Memorial and Northern Carleton hospitals at 6 a.m. the same day.
More detailed information on the hospital opening and a virtual tour of the Upper River Valley Hospital is available at: http://www.rivervalleyhealth.nb.ca.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Johanne LeBlanc, communications, Health, 506-457-3513; Judy Cole, communications officer, supply and Services, 506-457-7903; Shelley Fletcher, River Valley Health, 506-452-5668.