B.C. government to build new hospital in Surrey: health minister
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix speaks to reporters on Monday, Dec. 18, 2017.
The B.C. government is taking the first step towards building a new hospital "that would offer improved care" for people living in Surrey, the province's health minister announced Monday.
"Surrey Memorial Hospital delivers first-class health care, but we recognize with a rapidly growing community that access to this care is becoming difficult for a great number of people," Adrian Dix said.
"We made a commitment to British Columbians to address this need and today we are taking the first planning step in making sure people living in this region have better access to quality care."
Over the next year, the province and Fraser Health will work on what Dix called a "concept plan" for the hospital. The process is meant to determine everything from the best location for the new facility to the services it will offer.
Dix told reporters the government will look specifically at how the hospital can enhance pediatric care and access to day procedures and short-stay surgeries.
"With the continued growth of the community in the coming years, an additional hospital in Surrey will provide an opportunity to expand our care services to reflect the needs of the people living and working here," said Fraser Health board chair Jim Sinclair.
Surrey is currently the second-largest city in B.C. with a population of about 500,000. It is expected to become the largest city in the province by 2041.
In the 2013-14 fiscal year, Surrey Memorial, the city's only major hospital, saw more than 117,000 emergency room visits, provided care to more than 28,000 inpatients and treated about 10,000 day-care cases.
Last year, staff at the Family Birthing Unit delivered nearly 4,500 babies.
Mayor Linda Hepner said statistics such as these highlight the need for a new facility to relieve the pressure on Surrey Memorial.
"I think that Surrey Memorial has been stretched significantly as we continue to grow," Hepner said, adding that she often receives complaints about ER wait times and a shortage of hospital beds.
"We have a need for a new hospital in a city the size of Surrey."
Dix did not provide an overall timeline for the project, but said hospitals typically take between six and 10 years to build.
Once the concept plan is approved, the government said it will begin work on a business plan to determine the costs associated with the new facility.