North Island Hospital opens for first public tours

North Island Hospital opens for first public tours

Initial reviews are positive following tours at the new Comox Valley and Campbell River campuses this weekend. Kendall Hanson has more. 

For much of the afternoon Sunday, a lineup stretched out the front door of the new Comox Valley Hospital. The tour was the first chance for people to see their new $330 million facility that’s close to 40,000 square meters.

“It’s lovely,” said Annette Dyck following the tour. “It’s state of the art. We’re really lucky to have it.”

The tour involves all parts of the hospital, from the emergency room to the intensive care unit to the maternity ward. Most of the equipment is the latest technology and brand new.

“There have been a lot of advancements in the last few years,” said Island Health’s North Island Executive Medical Director Dr. Jeff Beselt. “Then there’s other equipment that we didn’t use to have so, for example, there’s a fixed MRI in both of the new facilities so some things that are new to us as well.”

It means staff at the North Island Hospital are not only learning how to get around the new buildings but how to operate the equipment too. Training has been underway for thousands of employees and volunteers for months.

“Being in a new place is really exciting and as well it means a lot of change for us,” said Beselt. “It’s going to be hard for us as well but all in all it’s great.”

Island Health says patients will see many improvements from the former hospitals such as way more privacy which is often a challenge in smaller towns.

The tour left many feeling positive.

“It’s spacious,” said Eleanor Wolverton, following the tour. “Some of the rooms have big windows. it’s just really beautiful.

“Really impressed with it,” said Nancy Launer, who also took the tour. “I wouldn’t mind being admitted here,” she said with a laugh.

After more than a decade in the planning, the doors on what Island Health is calling the North Island Hospital will be opening soon. The Campbell River campus is opening Sept. 10 and the Comox Valley Campus on Oct. 1.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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