The Victoria and Centennial buildings have served Nova Scotians and Atlantic Canadians exceptionally well for the last 50 years.  Aging infrastructure cannot support modern, new health care options that are now available.  And, we know there are better ways to meet the needs of patients—in their community or within the hospital setting.  This project, in its totality, is a combination of clinical and construction best practice and will serve the needs of patients for the next 50 years.

In order to meet patient needs, the QEII redevelopment involves moving out of the Centennial and Victoria buildings and into different locations. These will include renovated spaces, expansions, and additions.

Designs are underway to add and reconfigure inpatient beds, operating rooms, ICUs, and support services at the Halifax Infirmary. These state-of-the-art facilities, the heart of the new system, will be equipped to handle some of the most complex care in our region.

Renovations and expansions at Dartmouth General will mean 48 additional beds and four new ORs. Work will soon begin to re-open a second OR at Hants Community Hospital. Capacity at Scotia Surgery may be increased in the coming months, with no construction required.

Altogether, these changes will mean better access to the health care Nova Scotians need. The Nova Scotia Cancer Centre at the QEII will be enhanced, leading the way for innovative and research-driven cancer treatment. A new residential hospice will allow patients to spend their final days in a more home-like environment. And two new community out-patient centres will bring services closer to communities.

With the evolution of modern medicine and our health system today, reproducing the Centennial/Victoria buildings on the VG site is not the answer to meet our future care needs. We know we can deliver health services in more efficient and innovative ways. We are considering clinical best practices, where other services and technology are, other space that can be expanded or renovated, and what can ultimately result in being able to provide safe, quality and appropriate care.

Patients are at the heart of this entire plan. We are looking to relocate services to where they make sense for the best care experiences and the best care outcomes: multi-organ transplants under one roof; specialized outpatient services connected to the QEII Halifax Infirmary site; hospice care in the community; using other locations to do more surgeries; and services that don’t need to be in the downtown core relocated to more accessible locations.

We have absolute confidence in the care people are getting today. The QEII Health Centre offers the most sophisticated and specialized care in eastern Canada, primarily due to the health care teams who provide exceptional patient care every day. But, we recognize they are doing so in inefficient and aging buildings. In the future, the same health care teams will be able to deliver enhanced care because they will be in purpose-built settings, where services and equipment are located where they make the most sense.

It will take a while to relocate services and staff in any significant way. The earliest services to be done elsewhere are things like added surgical capacity at Hants Community Hospital in Windsor. A second surgical suite will be able to perform up to 800 surgeries per year that otherwise would have happened at the VG. Another example is expanding our use of Scotia Surgery which is in place and there would be no need to construct anything new.

It is going to take time to move everything out of these buildings. We have to be mindful of the patient care that’s taking place while we do this. Decommissioning is expected to begin in 2020, with demolition to begin in 2022.

The future use of the property hasn’t been decided. The site is part of the Halifax Common lands and will continue to be reserved for public purposes.

This is a multi-year redevelopment project, and one of the largest project we’ve seen in many years.  We can’t give a total cost at this point – which is common with projects of this size.  We are in the planning stage now, and once complete, we will have cost estimates to share. The timeline illustrates generally when those cost estimates should be available. A big part of this project is the expansion and renovation of the Dartmouth General Hospital, which is well underway and we know is going to cost in the range of 132-138 million dollars. 

We want to do this project right. Taxpayers expect the same. Our focus now is on planning and the right design. That, along with appropriate project management and checks and balances along the way, will ensure we get value for money and build the right infrastructure that will support our health system for many years to come.

We’ll look at all funding options. P3 is one of them. We’ll have to look at the business case before making any decisions. It has to make sense financially and operationally.

The location hasn’t been decided yet. It will be in the Halifax Regional Municipality – but not in the downtown core. We know this would better serve where our population lives today, compared with 50 years ago when the VG was built.