On Friday, June 6th, Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix joined staff, patients and community partners at the Cowichan District Hospital to announce it is full steam ahead on a project to replace the existing hospital.
“People who live in the Cowichan Valley have waited a long time for the hospital they deserve, and that wait will soon be over,” said Horgan. “The new hospital we are announcing today will serve people in the valley for decades to come, meaning better health care in their own backyard.”
“The new hospital will provide modern facilities to meet the growing health and care needs of the people in the Cowichan Valley,” said Kim Kerrone, Vice President – Chief Financial Officer, Legal Services & Risk, Island Health. “Growing up and having family in the Cowichan Valley, I understand the importance of this facility and want to thank staff, physicians, community partners and B.C. government for bringing this project to life.”
“A larger hospital with room to grow will do a great deal to support patient care in the Cowichan Valley,” said Alice Gelpke, Executive Director, Geography 3 – Laboratory, Medical Imaging and Pharmacy. “It will also help us retain our valued medical professionals and attract more who want to work and live in the Cowichan communities.”
The existing hospital, which opened in 1967, faces chronic capacity issues. In the past 50 years the valley’s population has more than doubled, and continues to grow every year. Today, the dedicated team of CDH staff, physicians and volunteers provide care to patients in challenging conditions on a daily basis.
“Our resilient and committed staff and physicians at CDH have been holding out hope for this news for years,” notes Emma James, Director of the Cowichan Valley. “When there is a guarantee of better things to come it alleviates some of the frustrations of working in a difficult environment, because there is confidence that there is something to look forward to.”
In June 2018, a concept plan for the new hospital was approved by the Ministry of Health, clearing the way for further work. Construction of the new hospital is anticipated to begin in 2021, and the new hospital is expected to be nearly triple the size of the current one.
Dr. Michelle Weizel, Medical Director of the Cowichan Valley and an Emergency Department physician adds, “The team of physicians at CDH were involved in the concept planning process and are strong advocates for this project. Going forward they will continue to be a strong voice for care providers as plans are finalized.”
The next step is the business planning stage, where details, such as scope, budget and procurement method, will be finalized. This will take approximately 12 to 18 months and include consultation. Upon approval of the business plan, the project will proceed to procurement, and then to construction.
Congratulations to everyone at Cowichan District Hospital. This is definitely news to celebrate!