First patients served at new Grande Prairie Regional Hospital
After 10 years of construction, the $850 million Grande Prairie Regional Hospital (GPHR) opened its doors to patients Saturday morning.
The GPRH has 10 operating rooms, a dedicated obstetrics suite, and 243 beds, including 28 serving as a mental health unit and 32 acute care spaces, compared to the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital's 181, the previous facility serving the region.
The new facility is intended to serve 11,000 inpatient and 65,000 emergency room visits, in addition to completing around 12,000 surgeries.
The GPRH will serve a catchment area as far north as High Level and into the Northwest Territories, with patients as far south as Grande Cache and east as Peace River.
"It is super exciting," said Stacy Greening, Alberta Health Services (AHS) Grande Prairie supervisor.
"We have waited a long time to open this facility, and it is just such a blessing for the community," she added. "I can't think of a better day."
The hospital is now one of five sites in the province to offer radiation therapy — a first for northern Alberta.
"Patients from this area of the province no longer have to travel to Edmonton, and that's a 10-hour round trip for people if they're driving," Greening said.
Every patient will have their own room with sleep space for visiting family.
"This is about bringing care as close to home as possible," Greening added.
CONSTRUCTION PROBLEMS PLAGUE PROJECT
Initially announced in 2007, ground was broken on July 29, 2011, with a projected completion date of 2014. That date changed to 2018, but by 2015 the province said the project was two years behind schedule and $89 million over budget.
In 2018, the NDP government dismissed the contractor, Graham Construction, and halted construction.
Graham Construction said the province was to blame for costs overruns and delays as it continued to change designs so many times that completed work had to be torn down.
- Almost $13 million to be paid to Grande Prairie hospital subcontractors, others
- Grande Prairie hospital contractors say they’re owed $60M by province
- Construction firm accuses province of botching build of Grande Prairie hospital
A new contractor, Clark Builders, won the bid to continue construction on the hospital with work completed three months ahead of schedule.
In July last year, AHS took possession of the facility and installed equipment alongside performing a deep clean.
The hospital began accepting patients at 6 a.m. Saturday.
The QEII will no longer accept patients and focus solely on ambulatory care, with all people currently undergoing treatment being transferred to the new facility.
Approximately 130 to 150 patients will be transferred from the QEII and other health care clinics across the province. Officials estimate all the transfers to take approximately 18 hours.
In July, local health care workers and the Official Opposition raised concerns that the current QEII hospital is understaffed, and since the new facility has even more beds, capacity challenges could persist.
Greening says AHS has a dedicated recruitment team that is already seeing results.
"We've actually been successful in recruiting over 200 staff and 10 physicians," she said. "We're going to continue to grow.
"What've noticed actually as we've been posting positions is that individuals are attracted to the opportunity to work in the new facility."
'CULMINATION OF YEARS OF ANTICIPATION'
Dr. Alika Lafontaine, GPRH facility chief for anesthesia, said the general feeling with staff at the facility is joy.
"Everyone is very, very excited about being in the new building," Lafontaine said. "Today’s been a culmination of years of anticipation for this day.
"This new hospital is really meaningful to me because it's delivering on a promise we made several years ago to our population here in the north, our patients," he added. "We should really look at this opportunity as a growth opportunity.
"It's just the beginning of a new story for Alberta's north and helping to rebuild our health care system after the challenges of the past couple years, but also looking to the future. Making it a place that we could both train and recruit new health care workers."
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Alex Antoneshyn and Jeremy Thompson, and The Local Journalism Initiative
Edmonton Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly has an 'open invitation' to visit Moscow to meet with Russian officials, an offer first extended in December, says Ambassador to Canada Oleg Stepanov.
The current crisis between Russia, Ukraine and the West is the latest chapter in a long history of developments. CTVNews.ca has a timeline of some of the key moments that led to the current political standoff.
After the past 25 months, forgetting the pandemic for even a little while may sound like a fantasy -- after all, the coronavirus has gotten our hopes up before. But infectious disease experts say there just may be an end in sight.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is postponing her wedding after announcing new COVID-19 restrictions Sunday following the discovery of nine cases of the Omicron variant in a single family that flew to Auckland to attend a wedding.
In light of inflation and supply chain woes, Canadians are using 'food rescue apps' to reduce grocery bills and waste.
Canada's athletes head to Beijing's Winter Games amid troubling tensions between their country and host China.
Russia's Foreign Ministry on Sunday rejected a British claim that Russia was seeking to replace Ukraine's government with a pro-Moscow administration, and that former Ukrainian lawmaker Yevheniy Murayev was being considered as a potential candidate.
Calgary fire is investigating after two fires at a condo building in Beltline Saturday afternoon.
The Calgary Food Bank has no shortage of food on its shelves right now but what it does need, however, is volunteers.
The Calgary Fire Department says all of the occupants, as well as their pets, are safe after a fire broke out in the basement of a home Saturday afternoon.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared their condolences to mark the six year anniversary of the La Loche shooting that killed four people and injured seven others on Jan. 22, 2016.
'Sewer smell in there is horrible': Saskatoon residents frustrated with city over basements repeatedly flooding
Residents living in the 3400 block of 11th Street W in Saskatoon whose basements have flooded say this isn’t the first time its happened.
Clark Gillies, a Hockey Hall of Famer and Regina Pats legend, has died at the age of 67.
Sask. has broken its daily increase in COVID-19 cases record for the fourth time this month, with 1,483 new cases reported Saturday.
RCMP is asking for the public’s help to locate Connor Wilbur, 15.
As icebergs drifted by his Antarctica-bound ship, David Holland spoke this week of how the melting glacier he's cruising towards may contain warning signals for the coasts of far-off Canada.
Eight people have been temporarily displaced following a fire in Moncton, N.B.
Health officials in Toronto have confirmed the COVID-19-related death of a person under the age of 19.
A 52-year-old man struck by a driver in North York on Saturday night has died of his injuries in hospital.
New Jersey Devils defenceman P.K. Subban did not mince words on social media calling out Jacksonville Icemen defenceman Jacob Panetta of the East Coast Hockey League after an apparent racist gesture made against P.K.'s brother Jordan Subban of the South Carolina Stingrays, as fans chanted the N-word.
Businesses in Quebec are reopening on Sundays, after being forced to close their doors on Jan. 2, 9 and 16. On Monday, vaccine passports will be required at big box stores.
Quebec COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to drop with the Ministry of Health reporting that there are 12 fewer patients receiving treatment, and two fewer in intensive care wards.
Three more people have died from COVID-19 in Ottawa, while Ottawa Public Health is reporting a rise in COVID-19 related hospitalizations this weekend.
EXTREME COLD WARNING
EXTREME COLD WARNING | Extreme cold temperatures set to return to Ottawa
Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold warning for Ottawa, the fourth extreme cold warning for the national capital region this month.
Luc Guertin used the snow from Monday's 48 cm storm to build an 18-foot snowman on the front lawn of his Elmvale Acres home.
Parents and guardians will be able to watch their kids play sports in Ontario when action returns on January 31, with a 50 per cent capacity limit on spectators.
Ontario health officials are reporting a drop in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations on Saturday as ICU admissions linked to the virus climb.
With news that the price of beef is increasingly expensive at grocery stores due to higher shipping costs and labour shortages, as a result of the pandemic, a man from Timmins is suggesting people get to know their farmers.
The trucking industry's hardline stance against the vaccine mandate for drivers marks a wrong turn, experts say, arguing the sector should have been better prepared for the January deadline.
A new study shows a majority of Canadians are finding it difficult to keep their cupboards stocked with food.
Winnipeg’s residential parking ban has been lifted, but the city is reminding residents that the annual snow route parking ban is still in effect until the end of February.
Abbotsford police say a 27-year-old Langley man is facing several charges after an incident in which he fled from officers and drove over a spike belt Thursday morning.
For the majority of the pandemic, the provincial health officer has advised British Columbians to get tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms. That message changed dramatically on Friday.
A family who fled Egypt over fears of persecution for the father's political activism is fighting for the right to remain in Canada.
Dozens of BC Transit buses in Greater Victoria were cancelled on Saturday, and dozens more cancellations were expected on Sunday.
The Salish Sea has been alive with rare cetaceans lately. Risso’s dolphins were sighted Friday near Nanaimo in the Strait of Georgia, and last week a fin whale was spotted foraging for food near a popular beach in North Seattle.
Residents of the Seabreeze Inne on Salt Spring Island are breathing a sigh of relief after the province announced new permanent homes and shelter space for the homeless and most vulnerable.