The Government of British Columbia announced that it has approved the business plan for the new BC Cancer centre at Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) in Kamloops.

“Approval of the business plan is a critical milestone for this crucial project,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “This state-of-the-art cancer centre will benefit patients in Kamloops and the surrounding area by offering the confidence from knowing that we’re building treatment capacity for now and the future.”

The five-storey facility will be built on the Westlands site on the RIH campus. There will be space for radiation treatment, radiation-therapy planning, including a CT Simulator, an outpatient ambulatory-care unit, including 10 exam rooms, and two consultation rooms for radiation-therapy services, an additional MRI suite, and patient arrival and check-in areas. The centre will have three linear accelerator vaults. These heavy, concrete structures contain radiation equipment used for cancer-patient treatment. In collaboration with Indigenous partners, there will also be a sacred space for patients, caregivers and staff, with features to support traditional ceremonies.

“Delivering expanded, comprehensive cancer care in Kamloops is one of our top priorities for the upcoming years. Heading into the procurement process, and subsequently, construction, we look forward to engaging with local communities, patients, families and Indigenous partners to ensure the delivery of high-quality, culturally safe cancer care for people across the region,” said Susan Brown, president and CEO, Interior Health.

The project budget is approximately $359 million, shared between the provincial government, Interior Health and Thompson Regional Hospital District.

“This is an exciting step forward in our work to bring new treatment options to this region,” said Dr. Kim Chi, executive vice-president and chief medical officer, BC Cancer. “The new BC Cancer centre in Kamloops will increase our capacity to deliver radiation treatment closer to home for the people of Kamloops and surrounding communities for generations to come.”

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A new 470-stall parkade will also be constructed as a part of the centre.

In addition, upgrades to RIH to expand cancer care have also been approved, which includes updating and expanding the pharmacy, and relocation and expansion of the Community Oncology Network clinic from the eighth floor to the main floor with more space and improved access. Cancer care delivered through the clinic includes oral and intravenous cancer treatment, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and hormonal therapy. The clinic also provides initial consultation and treatment planning with a medical oncologist, supportive care, followup care and patient education.

“This new comprehensive cancer-care centre marks a significant victory for the Thompson Cariboo Shuswap Health Service Area. At the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation, we regularly encounter grateful patients who express their appreciation for their care, yet often recount the challenges of travelling to Kelowna for radiation and other vital cancer treatments. This shall be no more. Like many, we look forward to seeing the realization of this long-awaited dream,” said Heidi Coleman, CEO, Royal Inland Hospital Foundation.

The procurement process is underway. Construction is expected to begin in 2025 and complete in 2028.

Featured image: Royal Inland Hospital, Kamloops, B.C. (Interior Health)

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