B.C. starts Burnaby Hospital upgrade as rural hospitals face weekend ward closures

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BURNABY, B.C. — Premier John Horgan announced the start of a long-awaited hospital upgrade project in Metro Vancouver while acknowledging some hospitals in rural British Columbia are facing temporary ward closures.

The premier attended a sod-turning ceremony to mark beginning of a Burnaby Hospital upgrade expected to cost about $1.3 billion.

Horgan says the upgrade, the hospital's first major redevelopment in 40 years, includes an expanded emergency department, a new cancer treatment centre and two towers, housing more operating rooms and 399 new beds.

However, while addressing the redevelopment plan, Horgan said he understands the concerns of residents in Clearwater, Port McNeill and other B.C. communities where wards are closing temporarily and patients are being referred to larger hospitals.

Horgan says hospitals, similar to many other workplaces, are experiencing worker shortages resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says B.C. has increased the number of health-care workers by 30,000 since the New Democrats were elected five years ago.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 30, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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