Renovations for waiting room of Halifax’s largest emergency department set to begin

Click to play video: 'Construction set to begin on Halifax Infirmary expansion project'
Construction set to begin on Halifax Infirmary expansion project
The province says it’s weeks away from breaking ground on the long-awaited Halifax Infirmary expansion project. A deal has now been signed with a construction company to pave the way for a new urgent care building featuring more beds, operating rooms, and ER. Skye Bryden-Blom reports – May 12, 2023

The QEII Health Sciences Centre’s emergency department is undergoing renovations as part of the hospital’s ongoing redevelopment project.

In a release Tuesday morning, the Nova Scotia Health Authority said patients and visitors to the Halifax Infirmary emergency department will notice construction taking place in the waiting room Wednesday.

“The upgrades will improve care by providing a better experience for both patients and staff,” the release said.

The emergency room renovations will last for about five weeks, and during that time, a second emergency department patient advocate will be assigned to the emergency room to support patients and staff.

“We are working hard to minimize the impact of construction and ensure safety, comfort and privacy for those in the waiting room,” the release said.

According to NSHA spokesperson Brendan Elliott, the renovations will entail relocating medical gas and steam lines, allowing the hospital to construct an inpatient acute care tower that was previously announced as part of the redevelopment.

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“Steam lines are crucial for heating the hospital so this work needs to be completed before winter,” Elliott noted.

Long-awaited project

The QEII redevelopment project has been in the works for years. First announced by the former Liberal government in 2016, the project was initially supposed to cost $2 billion.

In December 2022, Tim Houston’s Progressive Conservative government announced it was changing the scope of the project, and that it would cost substantially more, but exactly how much was not said.

An auditor general’s report released in April said the province was falling behind on the long-awaited project.

In May, the province said it would soon break ground after a deal was signed with a construction company to pave the way for a new urgent care building featuring more beds, operating rooms and an emergency room.

Once the new tower is built, it will house more than 200 beds, 16 operating rooms, an ICU and an ER.

The provincial government is planning to spend $250 million on the preparation phase of the project, though the total estimated cost of the entire redevelopment project is still unclear. It’s expected the preparation phase of work will wrap up early next year.

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— with files from Skye Bryden-Blom

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