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With 50 per cent extra staff on hand, it took approximately two hours and fifteen minutes to transport all 23 inpatients to the new hospital via ambulance, bus and HandyDART. The process started with the first ambulance leaving at 8 a.m., and all patients arrived by 10:15 and were able to eat lunch in the new facility. Morris says the success of the move came down to planning and preparation, in which everyone involved had a specific role that they stuck to.

Despite Northern Health’s efforts, there were still some people who showed up at both the old and new hospital that were non-emergent cases, but Morris says those residents were shown where to come back tomorrow. The emergency room saw its first patient shortly after 6 a.m., and the attending physician said the process went well, as has been since opening.

Now in the new building, there are bound to be some kinks that will need to be ironed out, but Morris says they committed to not making any changes for six months, unless there is a safety risk. Over that time, there will be things that staff will learn to adapt to, as the new facility is much larger, and differently designed.

“We’re going to, as best we can, learn to live with what we have and not make a bunch of changes,” explains Morris, “because that’s pretty much a vicious circle: once you start, you won’t stop, so we’d like to make sure that we really need to do it.

Angela De Smit, Health Service Administrator has worked at the hospital for the past 15 years, and is incredibly excited to be in the new facility.

“I just feel a great sense of accomplishment in terms of being able to really allow the community to be able to enter in to such an excellent healthcare facility in the north here,” she says.

She mentions the high amount of natural daylight and landscaping outside as two of the things she’s already appreciating about the new facility.

The next hurdle for staff is moving in the residents of the Peace Villa residential care project. 87 patients from the North Peace Care Centre will be moved in starting Sunday, in what will be a longer process, and an additional 28 will be relocated on Monday. De Smit says doing the move today helped the team learn things to be better prepared for the move Sunday, like making sure stations are fully stocked with the necessary papers.

The hospital will open for business as usual tomorrow, with regular visiting hours, and longer lab hours.

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