There was a lot of emotion and celebration of partnerships as about 100 people gathered Friday, Sept. 16, for the official opening of the new RIH Clinical Services Building.
Health Minister Terry Lake and fellow MLAs Todd Stone and Jackie Tegart joined Interior Health for the festivities, along with representatives from the Thompson Regional Hospital District, Bird Construction, RIH Foundation, University of B.C. Faculty of Medicine and the Tk’emlups First Nation.
“Today, we are not only celebrating a brand new addition to Royal Inland Hospital, but also an investment in health care for all patients served by this hospital, both in Kamloops and in the surrounding communities,” said Lake. “The province is committed to improving access to timely health care for all British Columbians. The Clinical Services Building is an important piece in this plan.”
While the state-of-the-art medical facilities are important, Lake and several other speakers acknowledged that many people are especially appreciative of the new 350-stall parkade.
The building actually opened a month ago. It includes three telehealth consultation rooms on the Clinical Services Building’s Level 1, in which patients meet virtually with their out-of-town health-care provider by using a monitor, video camera and microphone over a secure network. Patients in Kamloops can consult with a surgeon in Vancouver. Likewise, a physician in Kamloops can meet with a patient in a nearby community such as 100 Mile House or Clearwater.
“The Clinical Services Building is enhancing health care across the region because of services such as telehealth. Thanks to this new facility, patients are able to meet their health-care needs without having the time and expense of travel outside their home community, which is fantastic news for local families,” said Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson.
Telehealth consultations in the building include specialties such as transplant, pre-surgical screening, thoracic surgery, genetics, wound care, speech and language, home care, and mental health and psychiatry.
“I am excited about what the new Clinical Services Building means for patients in rural areas of British Columbia, such as the people in my home community of Ashcroft,” said Tegart, MLA for Fraser-Nicola. “The new building represents not only an investment in Royal Inland Hospital, but in regional health care as a whole.”
In a meeting prior to the opening program, the Thompson Regional Hospital District board unanimously approved in principle contributing $172 million towards construction of a new $400 million-plus patient care tower, the next major development for RIH. It will mean a tax increase of $20 for the average home in the region.
The Clinical Services Building has added about 5,200 square metres (55,975 square feet) of state-of-the-art patient care and education space to Royal Inland Hospital. The expanded space includes a lecture theatre and a clinical simulation centre for Interior Health’s continued health professional training and the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s medical programs – an important investment in the future recruitment and retention of physicians and staff to the Kamloops area.
“We are pleased to be a partner in the Clinical Services Building project, and are excited about what it represents for residents not just in Kamloops, but throughout the surrounding region,” said Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar, chair of the regional hospital district.
The new building also accommodates a variety of outpatient services that are regularly accessed by patients, such as laboratory, pre-surgical screening, operating room booking, cardiology, pulmonary function, neurodiagnostic care, a sleep lab and intravenous infusion therapy.