Nanaimo hospital cancer care centre passes next step


Plans to bring a cancer care centre to the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital have now passed the next regulatory hurdle.

The B.C. government announced Tuesday that it had approved the business plan for the cancer centre at the Nanaimo hospital, which would be three storeys and include a computed topography (CT) simulator, a PET/CT diagnostic scanner and an oncology ambulatory care unit.

“The population in Nanaimo is growing rapidly and aging, and we’re taking a critical step to strengthen health services in the region so people get the health care they need closer to home,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health.

“Our government is taking the next big step by approving the business plan for a cancer centre in Nanaimo. This state-of-the-art facility will benefit patients in Nanaimo and the surrounding region through the latest medical technology. This is part of the important work we’re doing to detect, prevent and treat cancer in B.C.”

The government says the procurement process is now underway, and construction is expected to start in 2025 and finish in 2028.

Additionally, there have been upgrades approved for the hospital, including a new single-storey addition to the ambulatory care building for a new community oncology network clinic, an expanded pharmacy, 16 treatment bays, private consultation rooms, a medication room and support space.

“We are excited to bring a new BC Cancer centre to Nanaimo. The new cancer centre will complement the existing services provided by BC Cancer – Victoria and reduce the burden of travel for people living in central and north Vancouver Island communities,” said Tracy Irwin, chief operating officer of BC Cancer.

The budget for the entire project is approximately $289 million.

The update was welcomed news.

“Promise made promise kept. That’s as good as it gets in politics,” said Leonard Krog, Nanaimo’s mayor.

The CEO of the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation says this will help people living in the area with cancer.

“Absolutely fantastic news that our community has needed for so long. The Malahat is such a huge hinderence to the experience of people living with cancer. Now to be able to get treatment here in Nanaimo is just a fantastic day,” said Barney Ellis-Perry, CEO of the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation.

Ellis-Perry says the group is now fundraising to buy some of the diagnostic equipment needed and is asking for community support.

The minister was asked if a new catherization lab for cardiac care and a patient tower called for by a new Nanaimo advocacy group would be announced within the next five years.

“No government since this hospital was built has done as much on capital in Nanaimo so I think people can be pretty confident that we’re going to continue to deliver for Nanaimo in the future but I think you’re question is way too far out,” said Dix.

RELATED: New advocacy group calls for more health-care facilities at Nanaimo hospital

Laura Brougham

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