More than $1 million in upgrades are coming to P.E.I.’s largest hospital.
Two projects are set to begin later this year at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown that are designed to upgrade some of the infrastructure as well as improve the air quality in the building.
Charlottetown MP Sean Casey hosted a virtual press conference on Tuesday that included federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna, P.E.I. Health Minister James Aylward, P.E.I. Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Stephen Myers and Terry Campbell, director of support services at the hospital.
Gas column connections and isolation valves will be replaced to ensure all operating room suites have modern and efficient equipment. The air handling system servicing the main level nursing unit in Unit 1 and the lower nursing unit in Unit 5 will be replaced to improve air control and energy efficiency.
The federal government will foot 80 per cent of the cost of the upgrades, to the tune of $876,000, under the COVID-19 resilience stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The P.E.I. government is taking care of the other $219,000.
“It was music to our ears to learn about this stream of funding," Campbell said, noting that the hospital is almost 40 years old. “We’ll see an upgrade to our infrastructure … which is very important to us."
Campbell said the hospital has nine operating suites that are “going full tilt".
“This will ensure that all of the operating room suites will have modern and efficient equipment," Aylward said. “These upgrades will also create more jobs for Islanders."
The upgrades will also enable staff to work with standardized equipment.
Speaking specifically about the work coming to units 1 and 5, Campbell said improvements to the air control system will create efficiency in the facility’s carbon footprint.
Work is expected to begin this spring and continue into the summer and fall with completion set for the fall of 2022.
“With regards to the plan, we have (the work) structured in such a way that services will not be impacted," Campbell told The Guardian.
McKenna said even though the work may take place post-pandemic, the COVID-19 resilience stream federal funding program was created as a way to stimulate the economy.
“It will help folks through the pandemic and create jobs," the federal minister said.
Myers said the project provides the opportunity to fix real-life problems at a critical time.
“This project wasn’t possible under the old (federal funding) stream," Myers said. “Hospitals are very important all the time, particularly in our COVID efforts."
Dave Stewart is The Guardian's municipal reporter.