Public-private partnership funds new health services centre

New Health Services Centre will be ready for occupancy in the spring of 2014.

New building will house Thunder Bay’s cyclotron

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is using a creative public-private ownership model to build a 75,000-square foot Health Services Centre on the hospi­tal campus.

The same ownership model was used to build a five-storey medical centre on the hospital grounds in 2005.

The public-private arrangement reduces the risk to the hospital, speeds up the approval process and provides Thunder Bay Regional with a source of revenue, said Scott Potts, executive vice-president of corporate and diagnostic services.

Getting the necessary approvals to fund the project itself would have in­volved “protracted negotiations with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care,” he noted. “It probably wouldn’t have happened because people need to know the timing and cost if they’re looking for space. You have to be able to meet the de­mand within a reasonable time and if it was a protracted process, it wouldn’t be feasible.”

The Health Services Centre will be five or six storeys and is scheduled to be ready for occupancy in the spring of 2014.

The building’s basement will be the site of a new cyclotron and radiopharmacy, which will produce medical isotopes for the hospital and support medical imaging research being conducted by the Thun­der Bay Regional Research Institute.

“We took the time to analyze several locations and determined that the Health Services Centre with its close proximity to the hospital would be the most suit­able,” said Potts.

Constructing a standalone building would have added in excess of another $1 million to the price tag.

The Thunder Bay cyclotron will be part of a distributed national isotope supply network and will be able to produce ap­proximately one-eighth of Canada’s daily medical isotope requirements for use in bone, thyroid, brain, stomach, liver treat­ments and other applications, including cardiac perfusion stress tests.

The national cyclotron network is designed to avoid the medical iso­tope shortage that occurred when the National Research Universal reactor in Chalk River shut down in May 2009 for 15 months to repair a leak caused by corrosion.

The Health Services Centre will also accommodate the Harbour View Family Health Team, the hospital’s cardiac rehab clinic, several hospital administrative departments and other physician offices.

The main floor will be reserved for a pharmacy and other commercial tenants.

The private group the hospital is partnering with is the same entity that has a stake in the existing Medical Centre, which houses the Tamarack House, a home away from home for cancer patients, as well as several ambulatory clinics, physician offices and hospital administration depart­ments.

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