A new hospital in Grande Prairie, Alta., has finally opened this weekend and is accepting patients.
Former Alberta premier Ed Stelmach announced the new facility in 2007. Construction started in 2011 with an original opening date in 2014, but the project was plagued with delays. Alberta Health Services gained possession of the facility from the provincial government in the summer of 2020.
But as of Saturday morning, the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital on 110th Street is open to the public.
"Our Grande Prairie health-care teams are excited to be moving into this wonderful new facility," Stacy Greening, AHS senior operating officer for Grande Prairie, said in a news release.
"This long-awaited new hospital was purposely designed with the patient and family experience in mind, and we look forward to caring for the community here.The facility offers many enhancements that will benefit patients right from Day 1."
The new hospital has 11 operating room suites, including one specifically for obstetrics in the maternity unit.
A cancer centre features two radiation vaults, making it the first centre in the AHS North zone to offer radiation therapy, the release says. The Grande Prairie centre is the fifth in Alberta to offer such treatment.
The building, with help from Grande Prairie Regional College, will also have a training space for aspiring nurses and other health-care professionals, the release adds.
"We are proud to be offering expanded health-care services in this beautiful, modern setting," AHS president and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu said in the release.
The Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) hospital in Grande Prairie will remain open for some ambulatory health-care services, such as dialysis, community-based rehabilitation services and Mackenzie Place continuing care. But all acute or inpatient services will be provided at the new hospital.
Acute care units at the QEII closed as of 6 a.m. Saturday. Anyone seeking immediate medical care, including obstetrics services, should go to the new hospital, the release says.
The QEII lab is also now closed for outpatient blood collections, the release says. Anyone requiring lab services can visit Alberta Precision Laboratories' community collection sites at Junction Point or Grande Prairie College & Community Health Centre.
Meanwhile, inpatients at the QEII will start being moved to the new hospital via ambulance. AHS is asking visitors to refrain from coming by Saturday to make the transfer quicker.
Designated support visitors, however, will be welcome once patients are moved in and comfortable at the new facility, the release says.
Grande Prairie is a city about 460 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.