Grande Prairie Regional Hospital in northern Alberta opens after years of delays

After years of delays, the new hospital in Grande Prairie, Alta., is now officially open.

The Grande Prairie Regional Hospital accepted its first patients last weekend.

Construction began in 2011 and was meant to be completed in 2015 but delays, including disputes over change orders and a change in contractor, pushed the finish further and further back.

Read more: Alberta government says construction of new, $850M hospital in Grande Prairie now complete

Saturday’s opening came amid a fairly rigorous task of moving patients from the old Queen Elizabeth II Hospital to the new facility.

On Dec. 4, 99 patients were relocated from the QEII to the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital. In addition, 1,192 Alberta Health Services staff members also made the move, along with 24 physicians and 95 volunteers.

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The feat took more than 10 hours and 17 different EMS vehicles to complete, including eight traditional ambulances, two critical-care units, one neonatal intensive care ambulance, a 40-foot multi-patient EMS bus, four non-urgent transport units and a recreation therapy bus.

The first patient left the old hospital at 6:45 a.m. and the transfer wrapped up around 4:50 p.m.

Read more: Grande Prairie hospital construction back on after province picks new construction manager

The emergency department at the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital opened at 6 a.m., with the first patient visit taking place at about 6:45 a.m. The first surgery was completed at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The first baby was born at the new hospital at 7:35 a.m. Sunday.

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The new hospital has 11 operating suites, a state-of-the-art cancer centre, and a four-thousand-square-metre space which — in partnership with Grande Prairie Regional College — will be used for education of future nurses and other healthcare professionals.

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The emergency department at the QEII Hospital is now permanently closed.

With files from The Canadian Press.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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