We can see the finish line. Just over 13 weeks to go until our official move week to the new Colchester East Hants Health Centre, which is scheduled for Nov. 19 to 25.
The project is moving ahead within our $184-million budget and has achieved substantial completion, with construction work coming to an end in many areas.
We accepted ownership of the building from our construction manager recently and offered our first orientation session for managers on Aug. 1.
Later this month we’ll begin the significant task of offering orientation sessions to help familiarize all of our staff, physicians, board members and other volunteers with the building, fire and occupational health and safety requirements, new building systems and equipment that will be used in the facility.
Maintenance and information and communication team members are on site now, becoming familiar with the operation of building systems, installing networks and more.
We’re getting close but the work isn’t complete yet. Over the past number of weeks passers-by may have noticed landscaping work being completed, the installation of exterior light stands, signage and sidewalks, paving and the painting of paved areas, including a giant 'H' on our brand new helipad.
Inside workers are completing work on flooring and fixtures, touching-up paint, testing and verifying a number of building systems and other work needed to get our facility ready for patients and clients this fall.
Among the most anticipated benefits at the new health centre is our new MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) service. Next month our new MRI unit will arrive and the installation work and completion of the MRI room will occur throughout October.
Unlike other equipment which can be moved in, installed and powered up when we make our move, the MRI needs special handling. The huge magnet at the core of the MRI must be powered (on life support so to speak) at all times, including during transportation to the new health centre.
Other equipment and furnishings will also arrive throughout the fall, including a number of new patient beds and a new portable, fully-wireless digital x-ray unit which will send images to our diagnostic imaging department even as our x-ray technologists are en route to the next patient in need of their service.
One of our biggest focuses and priorities is preparing for a safe and efficient move. Our entire move will take one week to complete, beginning with a number of administrative services and clinics on Monday, Nov. 19 and ending Nov. 25 when all of our patients will be moved to the new health centre.
On our final move day our emergency department at Colchester Regional Hospital will close at 7 a.m. and the new Colchester East Hants Health Centre emergency department will open at the same time. This is the day that services like dialysis and surgical services will move over as well and for situations where life is in danger, we will have the ability to perform emergency surgeries at both sites during our transition.
Emergency Health Services and the Truro Police Service will be supporting our patient moves and we are grateful to have had them as part of our patient transfer working group for the past number of months. We will be holding a mock patient move in mid-September to help test our move plans.
Our teams are finalizing ramp-down and ramp-up plans and we will be sharing information regarding any service changes that will be necessary during move week, so we encourage community members to watch and listen for these details this fall.
Public tours will also be held this fall in advance of our move to allow community members the opportunity to get a glimpse at many areas before the health centre opens and patients are on site.
Stay tuned for more information and keep watching our website – www.cehha.nshealth.ca – for the latest photos and updates.
TAGLINE: Peter MacKinnon is the CEO of the Colchester East Hants Health Authority. He lives in Bible Hill.