Nanaimo Regional General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada has started construction on a new endoscopy suite intended to improve access to colonoscopies, among other services.

British Columbia government is supporting the build of this third endoscopy suite at the hospital. The aim is to add up to 50 more colonoscopies at the hospital each week.

For the project, the government is working with the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation, the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District and Island Health.

The foundation will provide $1.75m for the $2.92m project, while the Regional Hospital District provides $1.17m. British Columbia government agreed to support ongoing operating costs.

British Columbia Minister of Health Adrian Dix said: “Our government is committed to improving accessibility to important diagnostic services such as colonoscopies.

“We value the support of community partners like the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation and the Regional Hospital District as we continue to invest in services at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.”

Colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure used to identify abnormalities in the large intestine and rectum. In October 2018, Island Health increased colonoscopy services at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital from five to seven days per week.

Between 1 April last year and 31 March this year, 4,116 colonoscopies were performed at the hospital.

Island Health, under its endoscopy programme, is working to resume pre-Covid volumes at the hospital and other sites offering this service.

Nanaimo Regional Hospital district chair Ian Thorpe said: “The construction of the new endoscopy suite and the services provided there will be of significant benefit to area resident.

“The Nanaimo Regional Hospital District is pleased to be a partner in this important project supporting increased access to care in our region.”

The new endoscopy suite, which is expected to be completed early next year, will be an external addition to the hospital.