Plans to build a new hospital beside KPU Cloverdale campus

The hospital will open in 2027 to meet the growing healthcare needs of the city

The currently empty lot next to campus where the hospital is to be built. (Kyler Emerson)

The currently empty lot next to campus where the hospital is to be built. (Kyler Emerson)

The City of Surrey is getting a new hospital in 2027, with plans for it to be situated on a section of KPU’s Cloverdale campus’ lot. 

In June, Surrey city council approved a planning report which said KPU proposed to subdivide the property into two different lots, with the northern lot containing the campus and the southern lot being sold to Fraser Health to develop the hospital.

This new hospital, originally announced by Fraser Health in 2019, and has an expected budget of $1.66 billion, will become Surrey’s second major hospital after Surrey Memorial. 

The hospital is still in the planning phase, and construction is not expected to start until 2023.  

Surrey Memorial Hospital is reportedly the second biggest hospital in the province and receives a large amount of traffic from patients across the health region, especially in the emergency department. 

Emergency department traffic in the city is expected to increase by 2026 and 2027, and it was seemingly only a matter of time for the province to approve another hospital for a city that is seeing a fast growth in residents. 

Some of the amenities for the new hospital will include “inpatient beds, emergency department, operating rooms, laboratory and diagnostic services, and outpatient services.” 

It will also have a mental health and substance use urgent care response centre, with the goal of providing a place of care and support for people who struggle with substance use or mental health issues. 

The province’s first centre of this kind was announced and began supporting patients in the summer of 2019, named the Surrey Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care Response Centre.

Research from this year shows that the use of illicit drugs is growing in the city of Surrey. Last year was reportedly the worst year for drug-related deaths in B.C., when 1,716 people lost their lives. The count of drug-related deaths in the Metro Vancouver Region is rising, and Surrey is one of the cities in the region suffering from it. 

A centre that can help understand the root of a patient’s addiction while guiding them towards recovery is needed, and this is what the Surrey Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care Response Centre is currently working towards. 

One of the important things about the Surrey centre is how fast patients can see a professional and how they can also have same-day appointments. And the centre is not just for Surrey residents. Patients from White Rock, Delta, and Langley can also receive help at the centre every day from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm.

Patients are reportedly given treatment plans and support while they go on with their recovery plan. 

A report from B.C.’s Coroner Service details different regions and areas of B.C. and how many drug-use-related deaths have occurred within them. From January 2020 to May 2021, Surrey saw a total of 325 deaths and an average of 19.1 deaths per month. 

The report shows that from Jan. 2011 to May 2021, 9,393 people have died from toxic drugs.

In order to create a safe environment for patients, Fraser Health gathered opinions and information from individuals with personal experience. 

The CEO of Fraser Health Dr. Victoria Lee, was quoted in a press release saying the thoughts from individuals with lived experiences can be seen in various parts of the centre, from the waiting room all the way to the “culturally sensitive healing ceremonies.” 

A second hospital that can provide more help to patients struggling with substance use and mental health issues is vital as Surrey Memorial currently receives high traffic, making for a hectic emergency department. 

Back in 2017, an opinion piece was written for South Asian Entertainment Magazine by a consultant pediatrician and long-time Surrey resident. In the piece, the resident voiced their complaint on the population-to-hospital ratio in the city, especially when compared to Vancouver, a city that Surrey is slowly catching up with in terms of population. 

The piece stressed the busyness of Surrey Memorial and how it often translated into long wait times for patients and is a frantic work pace for health care workers. 

A second hospital can take the pressure off Surrey Memorial, as well as provide the growing population an additional place to receive medical assistance.

The ministry of health has not given too much information on the hospital apart from construction dates and some of the services to be included. In an emailed statement to The Runner, the ministry of health acknowledged the benefits a new hospital would bring to the city. 

The statement said the budget for the hospital is $1.66 billion dollars, and it will reportedly be financed by the “provincial government through Fraser Health, with potential fundraising opportunities by Surrey Hospitals Foundation and BC Cancer Foundation.” 

The new hospital will also include a cancer centre, which is important to the city’s population growth. Provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a press release that the City of Surrey is seeing the population of young people and seniors grow, and a cancer centre is one of the ways to ensure the health of residents is thought of. 

B.C. currently has six regional cancer centres, and the Cloverdale site will make seven. 

According to a B.C. Medical Journal report, between 2012 to 2030, the rate of cancer cases in B.C. are expected to rise by 57 per cent. This is tied to the population growth of seniors. 

The report estimates around 11,195 British Columbians to lose their lives to cancer in the year 2030. When compared to the deaths in 2012, there is an increase of 19 per cent. 

With the hospital expected to be completed by 2027, the province will have another centre to treat cancer patients before the projected 57 per cent increase of cancer cases. The report shows that B.C. has been on a good track with decreasing cancer “incidence rates” in the last couple of years, and creating more spaces to treat possible cancer cases would only benefit the general provincial population. 

The Fraser Health region will see around one in three new cancer diagnoses by 2027, according to a press release. In comparison to the expected numbers in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, that would mark the Fraser Health region with a 50 per cent greater number of new cancer cases. 

This new cancer centre can contribute to shortening the waitlist in Surrey Memorial. Delta North’s MLA Ravi Kahlon is quoted in a press release acknowledging the convenience of a new hospital that can serve different areas of Surrey. 

Kahlon said the new cancer centre would ensure families don’t have to be far away from one another when a family member is receiving cancer treatment.

As the new hospital will be located on a section of KPU’s Cloverdale campus, the university is planning to sell the land to the Fraser Health Authority. They are just waiting for approval from the ministry of advanced education and skills training, said KPU Associate Vice President, Campus and Community Planning Jaret Lang, in an emailed statement to The Runner

The statement added that KPU is looking forward to the learning opportunities the hospital can provide to students in the health department. 

Information technology, human resources management, and product design are also listed as KPU programs that can benefit from the new hospital. Students in trades and technology programs can possibly gain apprenticeship positions once the construction begins in 2023. 

“We will continue exploring all these potential opportunities with Fraser Health Authority,” said Lang in the emailed statement.