The Government of Nova Scotia and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax announced plans to double the size of the emergency department and replace an aging MRI scanner.

The expansion will help address the increase in patients being seen at the emergency department and accommodate more complex cases. Over the last two years, there has been a 14 per cent increase in patient visits, with more than 33,000 visits to the emergency department last year.

“As demand for our services increases and the delivery of care evolves, the physical environment that our physicians and staff work within to provide care needs to evolve as well,” said IWK Health Centre president and CEO Dr. Krista Jangaard. “We are pleased and excited that government is investing in areas of care that will increase access, facilitate more effective care delivery, and meet the needs of patients and families we serve.”

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Government is investing $1.4 million in the design development phase, which is expected to be completed by next summer. A request for proposals for design development will be issued in the new year, and construction is expected to begin during summer 2020.

“A redesigned emergency department will ensure the IWK continues to meet updated standards around patient and staff safety, confidentiality and infection prevention and control,” said Dr. Shannon MacPhee, chief, IWK Emergency Medicine. “It will also encourage more innovation amongst care providers and allow the department to better meet the needs of those patients who present with mental health concerns.”

The government will also invest $6.9 million for the IWK to purchase a new MRI scanner and complete associated renovations. The new equipment will replace an existing, aging MRI scanner, and is expected to be in place by spring 2020.

The IWK Health Centre is the Maritime region’s leading health care and research centre dedicated to the well-being of women, children, youth and families.

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