SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The Saint John Regional Hospital will open a seventh operating room this fall.

“Expanding surgical services has been a major priority in Saint John and I commend everyone who has been involved in this initiative,” said Health Minister Madeleine Dubé. “The staff in the surgical department are a dedicated and professional group who have advocated strongly for this seventh operating room and I am pleased that this goal has been accomplished.”

Opening an additional operating room will improve surgical services by increasing access, decreasing patient wait-times and ensuring that surgical teaching and training can continue.

Dubé also congratulated Horizon staff as well as staff and physicians at the hospital for their careful budget management that has made it possible to open the seventh operating room within the existing budget.

“The surgery program at the Saint John Regional Hospital is one of the largest service delivery programs in New Brunswick and consists of highly-qualified, dedicated and caring surgeons, physicians and staff,” said Horizon Health Network president and chief executive officer Donald J. Peters. “I thank them for the tremendous collaboration that has taken place to make the opening of a seventh operating room a priority.”

More than 8,000 surgical procedures were completed at the hospital in 2011.

The new operating room is scheduled to open Oct. 1.