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New St. Paul’s Hospital to get $12-million hearing and balance centre

Rotary Club of Vancouver Hearing Foundation and St. Paul’s Foundation funding the project
st. paul's
Artist's rendering of concept for replacement of St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver. The new BC Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre will be in the Jim Pattison Medical Centre.

The Rotary Club of Vancouver Hearing Foundation has promised to raise $6 million for the new St. Paul’s Hospital’s hearing and balance centre, which will be located in the Jim Pattison Medical Centre, while St. Paul’s Foundation will raise the remaining $6 million for the $12-million project.

The news was announced at a June 18 press conference.

The new centre, to be named BC Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre, will feature exam rooms, surgical suites, research clinics and laboratories, clinical support, and vital equipment used to locate, diagnose, and treat ear conditions.

A fund will be created to support key medical staff in the areas of audiovestibular disorders, which pertain to the auditory functions of the inner ear and the vestibule of the ear, research and clinical fellowships, tinnitus management, audiology, and vestibular rehabilitation. The fund will also support geriatric and elder care staff to address the specific needs of seniors who because of age, mobility, and geography, are less likely to access specialized hearing programs and care.

”The Rotary Club of Vancouver is excited to be a part of this new project,” Jack Zaleski, president of the Rotary Club of Vancouver Hearing Foundation, said in a press release “This brings to fruition a dream the Hearing Foundation has had for 35 years — to provide the best care possible in B.C. and possibly in Canada for the deaf and hard of hearing.”

Dr. Brian Westerberg, head of the division otolaryngology at St. Paul’s, said the funding will help “transform the patient experience.”

“It will encourage collaboration among clinicians and researchers in otology, neurotology, audiology, physiotherapy, kinesiology, psychiatry, neurology, ophthalmology, and gerontology, and drive advancements based on a greater understanding of disorders to help develop new treatments and permanent solutions,” he said in the release.

The B.C. Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre at the existing St. Paul’s Hospital is the referral centre for patients in B.C. with complex ear and hearing-related issues. The first cochlear implant in Canada was performed at the centre in 1982. The procedure has since been provided to more than 770 patients.

Plans for the new St. Paul’s Hospital are slowly coming together.

In February of this year, the provincial government announced its contribution towards the $1.9-billion new hospital, which will be built on an $18.5-acre site on Station Street in False Creek Flats, will be $990 million.

Providence Health Care, which runs St. Paul’s, is selling the existing site on Burrard Street to help cover costs of the new facility, which is expected to be built by 2026. A rezoning application was filed last September.

Last October, the London Drugs and Tong and Geraldine Louie Foundations revealed their intention to contribute $6.5 million into St. Paul’s Foundation for the provincial heart centre at the new hospital. The inpatient clinic at the new facility will be called the Tong Louie Cardiac Wing.

In 2017, Pattison announced he would contribute $75 million towards the new hospital.