Leslie Castner, registered nurse and clinical nurse leader at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, left, and Teneane Gooch, registered nurse, at NRGH’s endoscopy department last year. (News Bulletin file photo)

Construction begins on $2.9-million Nanaimo hospital expansion for colonoscopy services

Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation and donors raised $1.75 million toward endoscopy suite

Increasing the hospital’s capacity for colonoscopies has been a community effort, and the project has now reached the construction stage.

Island Health issued a press release this week advising that construction is underway on a new endoscopy suite at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

The $2.9-million project is possible with $1.75 million from the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation and $1.17 million from regional hospital district taxpayers. The provincial government will support operating costs.

RELATED: Second MRI machine coming to Nanaimo hospital

The press release estimates that the expansion of services will allow for 50 more colonoscopies per week.

Janice Perrino, CEO of the hospital foundation, said in the release that she wanted to thank everyone whose donations helped bring the project to this point.

“Our hospital, and the central Vancouver Island communities it serves, desperately needs this third endoscopy suite to reduce wait times and to provide more colonoscopies and endoscopies right here at home,” she said.

Adrian Dix, B.C. Minister of Health, said in the release that the province values the role of community partners in these sorts of health investments.

“Our government is committed to improving accessibility to important diagnostic services such as colonoscopies,” said Dix.

Nanaimo Regional Hospital District chairman Ian Thorpe said the new endoscopy suite and the services it provides will be of “significant benefit” to residents and Leah Hollins, Island Health board chairwoman, said the suite will increase access to necessary diagnostic services for the region.

RELATED: Urgent primary care centre will be an expansion of clinic at Nanaimo’s Port Place

The release notes that Island Health increased colonoscopy services from five to seven days a week in 2018 and performed more than 4,100 colonoscopies over a one-year period between 2019-2020.

The new endoscopy suite is expected to be finished in early 2021, according to the release.

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