Services at the Victoria and Centennial buildings of the Victoria General hospital will start being relocated in late 2016.
The move is the start of a seven-year process to decommission the ailing buildings, announced by Premier Stephen McNeil Thursday. The plans are being released without a price tag, instead a full costing will be released once the detailed designs are confirmed in 2017.
The new facilities will “deliver top quality care to our citizens,” McNeil said.
READ MORE: No federal money coming for Victoria General Hospital replacement
The plan involves moving several services away from the VG, including:
Moving outpatient services, including orthopedic services, to Hants Community HospitalExpanding the private sector contract with Scotia SurgeryExpanding the Halifax Infirmary siteCompleting the expansion at the Dartmouth General HospitalMoving five palliative care beds to the Hospice HalifaxConsolidating Cancer Care Nova Scotia services to a newly renovated Dickson building
The province says both the ailing Victoria and Centennial buildings will be fully decommissioned by 2022, and the buildings will be demolished.
“We’re going to be on time and on budget,” McNeil said
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Burst pipes, bed bugs, and a long-standing problem with contaminated drinking water, have plagued the hospital for years. The Centennial and Victoria buildings are “obsolete and unreliable,” chief of surgery Dr. David Kirkpatrick said.
Many of the projects are in the early planning and design phases, with the exception of the already announced renovations of the third and fourth floors at the Dartmouth General Hospital.
No budget for newly released hospital plan
The only price tag referenced at the technical briefing was for the fifth-floor expansion of the Dartmouth General Hospital which was already announced. It’s expected to cost $132-$138 million.
McNeil said it would be “irresponsible” to release a budget at this stage, because the detailed design work isn’t finished. However, the opposition says the lack of a budget and no details on a funding formula are red flags.
“There’s a whole bunch of questions here that the government has sort of left off the table,” Tory MLA Chris d’Entremont said.
A private public partnership (P3) is still an option for some parts of the plan. The transportation and infrastructure department’s lead on the project, John O’Connor, says the team will look at the possibility of a P3 funding model for the construction and maintenance of some facilities.
Internal government documents obtained through access to information laws by the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union show the health department’s top bureaucrat raised concerns about a P3 model.
“It is difficult to find examples of successful P3s where there are no criticisms,” deputy health minister Peter Vaughan said in a 2014 briefing note.
Citing auditor general reports from across the country, Vaughan says P3s have been problematic in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec. According to Vaughan, Ontario’s auditor general found a P3 hospital had cost the province $200 million more than it would have if it had been built directly by the province.
In Nova Scotia, Vaughan’s briefing note says several reports on the health department’s current P3s criticized the department “for its challenges in providing effective oversight and holding entities accountable.”
However, finance minister Randy Delorey says the government is looking at the feasibility of a variety of funding models before ruling any out. “To make blanket statements as to whether they are the right model or wrong model is not good management,” Delorey said.
Delorey said the government will look at the terms and conditions of each project before deciding how to fund the projects.