Canada’s Government of British Columbia (BC) has announced its plans to open a new in-patient psychiatric unit at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

This psychiatric unit will feature 44 single-occupancy patient rooms and a dedicated four-bed paediatric psychiatric stabilisation unit, specifically to address the needs of younger patients. 

Once open, the facility will replace the 30-bed capacity at two existing in-patient psychiatric units at the hospital in Vernon, a city in the Okanagan region of Canada. 

The new unit will provide a modernised environment for patient care, addressing the Vernon and North Okanagan community’s growing needs for enhanced mental health and substance-use services. 

Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s expansion project involves the integration of community-based crisis and hospital services teams, currently operating from various locations. 

By co-locating the in-patient psychiatric unit with the services team, the project aims to reduce travel time for patients, caregivers, as well as healthcare providers.  

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This is expected to lead to a more streamlined care delivery process, benefitting those in need of mental health and substance-use services. 

Vernon Jubilee Hospital executive director Kate McBrearty said: “Beyond the obvious benefits for patients and families that this investment brings, it will also help to retain and recruit the dedicated health professionals who are key to providing people with quality care, close to home.” 

Additionally, the project encompasses the development of an 81-stall parking structure.  

With construction planned to commence in 2026, the new unit will be built on underutilised land adjacent to the hospital and connected to the main building via an underground tunnel. 

The psychiatric unit is expected to be operational by 2029.  

This initiative is part of a broader effort by the BC government to expand treatment options for individuals facing mental health and substance-use challenges, including addressing the toxic drug crisis in the province. 

The provincial government said it invested C$1bn ($741.7m) under Budget 2023 to boost access to various healthcare services, from early intervention and prevention to harm reduction, treatment, and recovery services.