Canada-based healthcare provider Interior Health has received approval from the provincial government to carry out an expansion project worth $325m at Penticton Regional Hospital in British Columbia (BC), Canada.

The project will be executed in two phases, the first of which calls for the construction of a new patient care tower, which will include approximately 287,500ft² of new health care facilities.

The tower will feature a new walk-in care centre, surgical services centre, 84 medical/surgical inpatient beds in single patient rooms, a new medical device reprocessing unit, and space for the UBC Faculty of Medicine Programme.

The scope of the second phase includes the renovation of vacated areas in the hospital to allow the expansion of the emergency department into a space almost four times the size of the current department.

This phase also calls for renovations to existing support areas of pharmacy, laundry and material (supplies and equipment) stores.

With the project, Interior Health aims to improve access to services and enhance patient care through the consolidation of programmes currently distributed throughout the hospital.

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BC Premier Christy Clark said: "As Penticton continues to grow, so does the demand on services Penticton families rely on, including the hospital.

"We committed to moving forward with a new patient care tower, and today we’re moving forward. This is a crucial step in the right direction."

"We committed to moving forward with a new patient care tower, and today we’re moving forward. This is a crucial step in the right direction."

Interior Health is expected to issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) in 2014 seeking firms who could design, build, finance and maintain the new tower.

After the evaluation of RFQs, up to three firms will be shortlisted and invited to submit responses to a request for proposals.

The entire procurement process is expected to take approximately 18 months to complete.

Construction of the new patient care tower and renovations to the existing building will take about three and a half years to complete.

The project will secure $122m of funding from the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District and $20m from the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.