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New Fort St. John hospital gearing up for move

With only four to five months to go, Northern Health is now planning for the transition stage of moving into the new hospital. Right now the focus is on transition planning: getting staff oriented and educated of the design of the new facility and where equipment will be located.

Project Director Tom Sparrow says educating staff on the move is important to keep everything flowing.

"Based on the fact that it's a new design, it's very very important that all of our healthcare folks totally understand what that new design looks like and how they will effectively function within that area.

Northern Health is also working to get all of the new equipment logistically placed into the new building, a process Sparrow describes as a "huge operation" that involves receiving the equipment, moving it in, installing it and certifying it and ensuring it it works properly. That's all in addition to moving the existing equipment in the current hospital, along with the patients and residents. That move requires a "significant" amount of pre-planning, to ensure it is done properly and safely.

"Because of how important it is to safeguard our patients, our residents, our clinical and non-clinical staff, there is a huge amount of co-ordination, facilitation that has to take place not to ensure there is the safety of all concerned when we conduct the move.

The actual physical move will take place over four to five days in mid-June.

The hospital is nearing the end of its construction phase, and is shooting to get an occupancy permit around the middle of March, meaning Northern Health will have access into the building without any personal protective equipment. That means a lot of training is planned for April and May. Service commencement day, when Northern Health is handed the keys to the new facility, is still scheduled for May 31, 2012.

Northern Health will be holding another community meeting on February 27 to update the public on the progress of the project and provide new pictures. That meeting will be held at the Quality Inn at 6:30 p.m.

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