Royal Columbian Hospital

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Royal Columbian Hospital
Fraser Health
RCH signage.jpg
Royal Columbian Hospital Circa 1903.jpg
Royal Columbian Hospital in Sapperton location, circa 1903
Royal Columbian Hospital is located in Vancouver
Royal Columbian Hospital
Location in Metro Vancouver
Location 330 East Columbia Street, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
Coordinates 49°13′36″N 122°53′31″W / 49.226667°N 122.891944°W / 49.226667; -122.891944Coordinates: 49°13′36″N 122°53′31″W / 49.226667°N 122.891944°W / 49.226667; -122.891944
Care system Public Medicare (Canada)
Hospital type Tertiary
Affiliated university UBC Faculty of Medicine
Emergency department Level I trauma center
Helipad TC LID: CNW9
Beds 402
Founded 1862
Website Royal Columbian Hospital
Lists Hospitals in Canada

The Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH) is the oldest hospital in the Canadian province of British Columbia and one of the busiest in the Fraser Health Authority. RCH is located in the city of New Westminster overlooking the Fraser River and is the only hospital in the Lower Mainland that is immediately adjacent to a Skytrain station (Sapperton).


Royal Columbian Hospital is a major tertiary care facility known for trauma care, neurosurgery and open-heart surgery and neonatal intensive care.

The hospital has the only program capable of performing cardiac surgery for expectant women in the Province of British Columbia.[citation needed] RCH performs 95 per cent of the primary angioplasties or percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) for the region and has demonstrated healthy outcomes for patients transferred back to their referring hospital.[1]

Royal Columbian Hospital was again ranked one of the top hospitals in the country in caring for infants in its NICU in the latest Canadian Neonatal Network report (2015). The hospital’s NICU, which cared for 528 of B.C.’s premature and vulnerable infants during the study period, was rated one of the best in the country at saving these high-risk babies. It achieved a 98.6 percent survival rate overall for its infant patients, this despite the fact that as a Level 3 NICU it also cares for some of B.C.’s “micro pree-mies”. The hospital has consistently been in the top rankings over the roughly 18 years the Network has been producing the study.

The hospital has 402 acute care beds and has a medical staff of approximately 385 physicians, divided between family physicians (150) and specialists (235).[2] Many of the physicians also practice at Eagle Ridge Hospital in nearby Port Moody.

BC Ambulance at RCH.jpg

RCH has a helipad that receives air ambulances operated by the BC Ambulance Service. RCH offers free Wi-Fi through a FatPort hotspot near the main entrance.[3]


The need for a hospital to care for the sick and injured became a public concern during the population growth caused by the gold rushes of the 1850s and 1860s.[citation needed]

The first Royal Columbian Hospital, designed for thirty patients and located on the corner of Clement (now 4th Street) and Agnes Street was opened on 7 October 1862[4] to care for men only. Women, children, and "the incurable and the insane" were excluded from care. The Royal Engineers planned and helped build the hospital, the first in the colony. The cost was $3,396. A chain gang from the penitentiary helped clear the site.[5][6][7][8][9]

RCH moved to its current location in the Sapperton area of New Westminster in 1889.[citation needed]. An early physician and surgeon connected with the hospital at this location was Richard Irvine Bentley.

RCH plaque 1978.jpg

In 1978, Prince Phillip and Health Minister Bob McClelland opened the addition of the Health Care Centre portion of the hospital.

Academic affiliations[edit]

RCH housed a nursing school between 1901 and 1978 in the Sherbrooke building.[citation needed] It now accommodates administration and mental health clinical services.[citation needed] RCH is a Clinical Academic Campus affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of the University of British Columbia, the first in the Fraser Health region.[citation needed]

Future expansion[edit]

Government sign commits to future redevelopment at RCH

Fraser Health, the health authority that operates RCH, is working on plans to redevelop and expand the hospital to address aging infrastructure and a congested emergency department.[10]

In June 2012, the provincial government committed to the expansion and renovation of the hospital.[11]


  1. ^ Fix and ship: No mortality penalty when STEMI patients transferred back to referring hospitals post-PCI
  2. ^ UBC Faculty of Medicine: Royal Columbian Hospital profile
  3. ^ Fatport locations
  4. ^ RCH Foundation History
  5. ^ RCH Foundation History
  6. ^ HealthCare and Social Assistance - A Guide to the BC Economy and Labour Market, Government of British Columbia
  7. ^ Primary Source The Work Of The Royal Engineers in British Columbia: 1858 to 1863, BY HIS HONOUR FREDRICK W. HOWAY. To their energy we owe in a great measure the existence of the first hospital in British Columbia, the Royal Columbian Hospital at New Westminster.
  8. ^ The Canada Lancet and Practitioner. Volumes 26-27. Published 1906. Original from the University of Michigan. The Royal Columbian Hospital founded in 1859, now located in our suburb (Sapperton) was the first hospital established upon the mainland of British Columbia, there having been a marine hospital at Victoria prior to 1859.
  9. ^ Report of the Board of Management for the year ending 12 February 1863 [microform] / Royal Columbian Hospital (New Westminster, B.C.), 1863
  10. ^ Fraser Health Capital Projects: RCH
  11. ^ Royal Columbian Hospital Redevelopment moves forward

External links[edit]