Province gives $12 million to North Bay hospital

The provincial government is providing more than $12 million for the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC).

NBRHC is receiving $8,212,500 to add 45 new patient beds, as well as $4 million in funding, which represents an increase of two per cent from last year.

The hospital will also receive $142,400 through the Surgical Innovation Fund to help with same-day and early discharge services.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our local North Bay Regional Health Centre has gone above and beyond to provide exceptional care to patients and families in our community,” said Vic Fedeli, Nipissing MPP.

"These new investments reflect Ontario’s commitment to support high-quality and timely access to health care, and to ensure we have the capacity to stay open.”

Hospital officials said NBRHC has been short beds since the beginning of the pandemic and told CTV News the new beds will make a big difference.

"We've been under a great deal of sustained bed pressure for two and a half years of the pandemic," said hospital CEO Paul Heinrich.

"When other beds were lost in the community due to war room reductions and impacts of rules in long-term care, NBRHC came to the rescue once again and created these temporary beds."

"Two and a half years later we still have this capacity requirement," he said.

Hospital staff will take the next while to decide where the permanent beds should be located

"Almost every day we have 20 no-bed admits in emerg, which basically means we have a ward as well as emerg intake all in one," said Heinrich.

"These spaces aren't ideal at the moment. So over the next six months to a year, we will have to see how we can adjust the infrastructure here to accommodate those beds in the most appropriate way."