The $1.9-billion replacement project for Vancouver’s 124-year-old St. Paul’s Hospital should be open within seven years, Premier John Horgan said Feb. 15.
”By 2026, there will be a new St. Paul’s Hospital on Station Street,” Horgan said. “It will be big, it will be better.”
“That’s pretty fantastic,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said. “The premier directed us to do the work to get this done.”
Horgan said the new facility will have 115 more beds – for a total of 548 - than the current facility, which will be sold with proceeds supporting the new hospital.
The new hospital, operated by Providence Health Care (PHC), is to be situated on a 7.4-hectare (18.4 acre) site on False Creek Flats, bought for $45.5 million through a public-private partnership. It is slated to include state-of-the-art health care, research and teaching facilities.
The hospital’s main building will be an 11-storey, state-of-the-art acute care hospital, while other buildings will house primary care, out-patient and specialty clinics, research programs, health care technology, biomedical and life sciences businesses, and more.
The project’s first phase will see the building of the hospital core, followed by an expected clinical support and research centre.
Specific services the hospital, one of several operated by Providence Health Care, will include are:
• Emergency services;
• Medical surgical inpatient care;
• Critical and high acuity care;
• Maternity and newborn care;
• Mental health and substance-use care;
• Ambulatory clinics;
• Clinical support services;
• Surgical and interventional services;
• Elder care programs
• Diagnostic imaging, and;
• Pathology and lab services
All existing services operating by Vancouver Coastal Health at St. Paul’s and in downtown Vancouver will remains once the new hospital opens, the government said.
Looking to the future, plans include use of next-generation technologies like immunotherapy, precision medicine, virtual reality, robotics and 3-D printing.
As well, medical records, test results, and images will be instantly and securely accessible to patients and their care team no matter where those involved are located.
PHC president Fiona Dalton said the new St. Paul’s would build on a culture of integration of health care, research and education.
“We’ll support and help strengthen our regional health care initiatives,” Dalton said.
Further, Dalton said, the new facility will be come part of a super-cluster of research, working with technological companies to move research forward.
Vancouver False Creek Liberal MLA Sam Sullivan, whose riding is next to the hospital, said “it’s fantastic” that the project is moving forward.”
“It’s going to be great for the health care of the city but also the whole province,” Sullivan said.
Vancouver-West End NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert has long opposed moving the hospital from its current site, fearing a loss of health care to the densely populated area.
“We saw this coming a long time ago,” he said. “Thankfully, we have an urgent care centre.”
Chandra Herbert said everything should remain the same with the St. Paul’s Burrard site for 6-7 years. But, he said, the need for family doctors in the neighbourhood remains and work to maintain ambulance service must be kept up.
Greenlighting the project had been contingent on provincial approval of a business case. The latest was ready in January 2018 but was later updated and submitted with the approval of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority chair Kip Woodward.
It is projected that the hospital will become a health-care hub attracting other health care, research and tech industries.
Vancouver General Hospital and St. Paul’s are B.C.’s two largest health-care facilities, serving people from across the province.
The project has been in the works since 2004 with strenuous debate over whether or not the hospital should be renewed at the current Burrard Street site or on the False Creek Station Street lands.
Former premier Christy Clark said in June 2012 that $500 million was earmarked to redevelop St Paul’s on Burrard Street. The funds never appeared in budget documents and a promised business case to keep the hospital in the West End never materialized.
A February 2016 community forum was told a business case would be complete that fall and new hospital complete by 2023.
B.C. billionaire Jimmy Pattison has pledged $75 million toward a new hospital.