The province is taking the first step to upgrade Capital Health’s aging infrastructure to provide better care to patients across Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. The province’s recently released Jobs and Building Plan included funding for a study to determine the most economical and efficient way to complete needed upgrades at Capital Health over the next five years. The upgrades will include eventually demolishing the 44-year-old Centennial Building. “Most families in Nova Scotia have had a loved one who has received care at the QEII,” said Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald. “The province will deliver better care sooner by consolidating the inpatient specialized care offered by Capital Health to all Nova Scotians. This is the first step in that project.” Each year, more than 135,000 patients come to Capital Health from other parts of the province, representing 20 per cent of all inpatients, outpatient clinic visits, emergency visits and surgeries. Upgrading hospital infrastructure is complex and requires careful planning. For example, it will take several steps to vacate the Centennial Building, including transferring 210 inpatient beds to other facilities in the coming years. The planning and design study announced today will be developed with the departments of Health and Wellness and Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Projects will be subject to government cost reviews to guard against cost overruns. “I am very pleased that government is examining how to move forward with these upgrades, which are so urgently needed,” said Capital Health CEO Chris Power. “Capital Health is responsible for a significant amount of provincial health care assets. This planning is necessary to ensure that we are looking after our facilities to the maximum benefit of our citizens, including those who travel from across the province and region to receive specialized care. “Through better design and concentrating in-patient specialty services to one site, we will be able to achieve efficiencies and reduce duplication. This will help to improve the care we provide, ensure the highest levels of safety and quality, and improve access.” Dr. Drew Bethune, a thoracic surgeon at Capital Health, said the plan will help create a more comfortable and suitable environment for health care. “I want to commend the province for committing to a plan for our facilities that is critical to delivering sustainable, high-quality health care into the future,” Dr. Bethune said. “We are very happy to be moving in the right direction. A well-thought-out plan for buildings that meet our patients’ needs will get us to where we need to be, while using our tax dollars wisely.” The province’s new Jobs and Building Plan will invest millions of dollars to make life better for families. It will create good jobs, grow the economy and provide better health care for all Nova Scotians. The plan invests in projects that are most important to Nova Scotians like emergency rooms, schools, roads and hospital equipment.