QEII New Generation Project physician lead Dr. David Fitzpatrick addresses provincial Standing Committee on Health

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The following are remarks from Dr. David Kirkpatrick, physician lead of the QEII New Generation Project, from the provincial government's Standing Committee on Health held Tuesday, May 14 at Province House in Halifax.

Good afternoon. It’s a pleasure to be here today to discuss the QEII New Generation Project.

I’m David Kirkpatrick, chief of surgery for the Central Zone and head of the department of surgery at Dalhousie. I am also the physician lead for the QEII New Generation Project.

At the QEII on an average day there are: 950 inpatients, 4,000 clinic visits, 270 cancer treatments, 130 surgeries, 200 ER visits. That’s over one million visits every year. 

People from across Nova Scotia and indeed, Atlantic Canada, come to the QEII for care not available elsewhere in the region.

Ten percent of our patients live outside of Nova Scotia. The QEII is the Atlantic region’s tertiary and quaternary care centre for programs like multi-organ transplant and advanced cardiac care.

The QEII and DGH are also the community hospitals for residents of the Central Zone and provide the same secondary care services that other Nova Scotians receive at their local hospitals.

The QEII is Atlantic Canada’s largest regional academic health institution and, as such, is the principal teaching hospital for multiple health professionals. It is also home to a number of clinical research programs that are transforming health care delivery.

How we deliver patient care has changed vastly over the last 50 years, and so, in our preparation for the next fifty years, we know that we must not try to replicate the past.

Where we can, we’re moving care closer to home.

At Dartmouth General Hospital, we’re doubling the number of operating rooms, adding 48 beds and expanding outpatient clinic space. Construction on half of these new beds will be complete this fall. This will accommodate approximately 20 per cent of the curent VGH volume of inpatient and surgical care. 

Renovations at Hants Community Hospital were completed last year and we exceeded our first year target of doubling the number of surgeries performed compared to the previous year.

We’re building a Community Outpatient Centre at Bayers Lake that will be more convenient for those who travel from areas outside Halifax-Dartmouth.

In addition to outpatient clinics, blood collection and diagnostic imaging, the centre will have 24 dialysis stations, as well as a primary care clinic with after-hours access to better serve the rapidly growing community surrounding the outpatient centre.

Through this project, we’re building capacity and improving efficiency.

By consolidating the QEII functions at one site, we will be eliminating 3,500 patient transfers between the Halifax Infirmary and VGH every year.

Although this project is about replacing the functions of the VG, it is also about creating a contemporary facility incorporating modern standards and new technology that all Nova Scotians will all be proud of.

During recruitment interviews, candidates ask about this project with great anticipation.

The Innovation and Learning Centre will feature spaces that consolidate in one location much of the clinical research and group teaching activity that takes place now at the QEII. Co-locating these activities fosters greater collaboration and serves as a visible declaration of the QEII’s commitment to the academic mission.

As part of the initial phase of the QEII redevelopment project, Atlantic Canada’s first hybrid operating room is scheduled to open late 2020 in the Halifax Infirmary building. This space will bring together highly specialized multidisciplinary teams working in collaboration for the benefit of patients.

Young specialists who are trained to work this way see this as an exciting development. 

Health authority staff and physicians have been intensely engaged in this project. Starting with master planning in 2016, and now with informing functional output specifications, they have either led or participated in all of the planning committees and working groups, making sure the design meets current and future needs.

Our foundations, auxiliaries and community partners have been major supporters of this project.

Their efforts are making it possible to incorporate the latest innovations into the design thereby ensuring that our facility remains modern and highly functional for many years to come.

Thank you.

For more information on the Standing Committe on Health, please visit https://nslegislature.ca/legislative-business/committees/standing/health.