NORTH VANCOUVER – Mental health and addictions services on the North Shore are getting a major facelift with a new $62.2-million acute mental health facility at Lions Gate Hospital, which will include space for the University of British Columbia faculty of medicine and a new ambulance station for BC Ambulance Service.

The new four-storey, 26-bed facility will replace the current Activation building, which was built in 1929 and no longer meets the needs of an acute care psychiatric facility. The new building will provide state-of-the-art mental health and addictions services in a beautiful, purpose-built facility, designed with psychiatric patients in mind.

The current multi-bed rooms will be replaced by single bedrooms and washrooms, to provide increased patient privacy, allow for greater infection control, reduce patient transfers and allow for appropriate patient management.

Also included in the project is dedicated teaching space for the UBC faculty of medicine affiliated regional centre, to increase educational opportunities for medical school students and residents; and a dedicated, permanent home for BC Ambulance Service in North Vancouver. It will also include parking, and additional shelled-in space for future expansion.

The $38.2 million in capital funding is being provided by the Province, through Vancouver Coastal Health. The Lions Gate Hospital Foundation is also a project partner, and has committed to raise the balance – $24 million – to complete this mental health treatment facility.

This new building will also provide space for various community mental health and substance use services, currently dispersed in locations around the community, providing one central, convenient and efficient hub for mental health services on the North Shore.

Construction is expected to get underway in summer 2012, with completion targeted for the end of 2013.

Lions Gate Hospital opened their new $24-million Jim Pattison Emergency Department in May 2009, which doubled the size of the previous department. That project was funded by the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation, which raised $15 million toward the project, and the Province and Vancouver Coastal Health.

Quotes:

Minister of Health Michael de Jong: “One in five British Columbians will experience some sort of mental health challenge. This new building will create a centre of mental health care for residents of the North Shore, allowing them to get the right care, right in their home community.”

North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Naomi Yamamoto: “This new facility will not only bring high-quality mental health care to North Vancouver, but it will also provide for additional academic space for UBC medical school, helping us in our goal to increase B.C. medical graduates – in fact, we have already doubled our first year undergraduate medical school spaces from 128 to 256.”

North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornthwaite: “As a former health care professional, I know first-hand how important our health care infrastructure is – this new facility will make a vital difference in the lives of people struggling with mental health challenges. And like many people on the North Shore, I am especially pleased to see that the hard working men and women of the BC Ambulance Service will finally have a permanent home at this new facility.”

West Vancouver-Capilano MLA Ralph Sultan: “Substance abuse has torn apart the lives of many young people and their families across the Lower Mainland, including West and North Vancouver. A new purpose-built mental health facility at Lions Gate Hospital will provide the acute care that youth, adults and families need to get within their own community.”

West Vancouver-Sea to Sky MLA Joan McIntyre: “The four North Shore MLAs have been avid supporters in government of this project, particularly as it will provide both in and out-patient treatment for those most in need in our community, including youth and those with dual diagnoses. It will replace an aging facility with state of the art treatment.”

Wendy Hansson, chief operating officer, Vancouver Coastal Health-Coastal Region: “We are pleased to be moving forward with this project, which will have a positive impact on patients, families, staff and physicians on the North Shore and Coastal communities. I’d also like to sincerely thank Lions Gate Hospital Foundation for its dedication and support of this project.”

Dr. Gavin C. E. Stuart, dean, UBC faculty of medicine and UBC’s vice prevost: “The additional academic space included in this project will allow the Faculty of Medicine to train more medical students and medical residents, enabling them to gain and enhance clinical skills, easily consult reference materials, and participate in learning sessions, either with each other or, thanks to videoconferencing technology, with other trainees throughout the province. Having doubled our medical program’s enrolment over the last six years, this expansion is a crucial step in making sure our students and residents have all the learning resources they need, wherever they may be located.”

Learn More:

Lions Gate Hospital Foundation website: www.lghfoundation.com/

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