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May 12, 2009

Construction Begins on $40-Million Heart Centre

Construction has begun on a $40.3-million project to make St. Boniface General Hospital a centre of excellence for heart surgery and cardiac care, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

"This leading-edge project will ensure Manitoba's heart surgeons have a first-class, technologically advanced facility to provide quality cardiac care to Manitobans who need it," Oswald said. "Manitoba's heart surgery centre of excellence will deliver a new standard of patient comfort in a bright, modern, state-of-the-art setting."

The St. Boniface cardiac centre of excellence will occupy nearly 41,000 square feet of new and renovated space, with a focus on more private rooms for patients, natural light, private bathing facilities, more room for visitors and other patient comforts.

The expansion will increase the number of cardiac beds by 15 and will include:

  • an expanded 32-bed cardiac in-patient unit (a net increase of four beds);

  • a dedicated 15-bed cardiac intensive-care unit that includes an
    isolation/protection bed (a net increase of five beds);

  • a new six-bed chest-pain evaluation unit within the emergency department; and

  • development of a satellite pharmacy department to serve the cardiac unit.

Dr. Brian Postl, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA), said the new state of the-art facility will reflect the excellent work already being done by cardiac surgeons and staff.

"Locating all post-operative aspects of cardiac surgery in one building really completes the process of surgical consolidation that was started two years ago," Dr. Postl said. "This new facility, along with the significant improvements that have been made to the program over the past few years, makes Manitoba a national leader in this area."

Dr. Alan Menkis, medical director of the WRHA cardiac sciences program, said the facility was designed with patients and families in mind, with large windows, natural lighting and spacious family rooms.

"Cardiac surgery is a traumatic experience for both patients and their families," Menkis said. "Being in a calming environment while you are awaiting surgery, recovering from it or waiting for a loved one to return from surgery, will help patients and families get through the experience."

Menkis said staff will also benefit from their new surroundings.

"Not only will the new centre of excellence be a more pleasant environment for staff to work in, it also is designed to better meet daily needs, such as putting equipment and supplies where they can be more easily accessed."

The new facility will incorporate environmentally sustainable design features throughout to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver standard.

"Today, we celebrate the latest step in achieving a long-held dream, to be a centre of excellence for heart health in Manitoba," said Dr. Michel Tétreault, president and CEO of St. Boniface Hospital. "St. Boniface will be the focal point of a new age in cardiac care in this province, bringing new opportunities and advancements."

Consolidating heart surgery in one facility was a key recommendation of the Koshal report on heart surgery. Other key recommendations that have been implemented include:

  • the construction of the state-of-the-art Bergen Cardiac Care Centre;

  • the appointment of Menkis as overall cardiac sciences program head;

  • the recruitment of strong physician leaders and staff for cardiac
    surgery, cardiology and cardiac anesthesiology; and

  • investments in advanced equipment to deliver a full spectrum of
    leading-edge, cardiac-care technology.

Construction of the new centre of excellence is expected to be completed by December 2010.

Source: Manitoba Health

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