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Aberdeen Hospital staff eager for opening of new ER

Brenda Payne, director of acute care for the Department of Health, stands next to new rooms where doctors will see patients in the Aberdeen Hospital’s newly constructed emergency department. It is expected to open in the fall.
Brenda Payne, director of acute care for the Department of Health, stands next to new rooms where doctors will see patients in the Aberdeen Hospital’s newly constructed emergency department. It is expected to open in the fall.

Construction of the Aberdeen Hospital’s new emergency department is in its final stretch and while it’s not going to be finished quite on time, it will be within budget says Brenda Payne, director of acute care for the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

Payne provided The News a tour of the new facility on Thursday, which showed that the building is almost complete with the majority of finishing touches done. However there’s been a bit of a holdup finishing a generator building, which is expected to take until the fall to complete.

The generator building is located behind the hospital and its completion is necessary to proceed with the opening of the emergency department to provide backup power in the event of an outage. While the health authority is not providing an exact date for the opening, they say it will be this fall.

The completed department will feature new furnishings and equipment. The process to purchase those pieces is underway to ensure all is delivered and installed in time for the department’s opening, according to information provided by the health authority. Work remaining on the exterior includes installation of a driveway, curb work and landscaping.

Because staff will be going into a department five times the size of the one they were working in, Payne said they will have to learn new ways of operating.

“We’re trying to make sure our processes or how we do business is going to be aligned with the new structure.”

She said staff are excited, but it will be a bit of an adjustment. As frustrating as the opening delay may be, she said it will allow them time to test the new processes.

“I know the communities we serve by this service and program are going to be really pleased,” she said. “The community is going to be really pleased with what this looks like especially in comparison to what we currently have.”

When the new emergency department opens in the fall, Lindsey Construction will start work on the new pharmacy department, which will operate in the existing emergency department space. That project is expected to take one year to complete.

The cost of the emergency department redevelopment is $32 million with 75 per cent funded by the province of Nova Scotia. Pictou County’s municipalities signed a funding agreement committing $6.5 million for the other 25 per cent.

The Aberdeen Health Foundation is purchasing the $1.5 million patient monitoring system and the Aberdeen Hospital Auxiliary is purchasing furnishings for the family room.

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