ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, Va. — A brand new hospital is heading to Isle of Wight County.
"It's completely game-changing, not just for us on the fire and EMS side of things, but for the community as a whole," Isle of Wight Emergency Management Coordinator Will Drewery said.
Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Colin Greene gave health leaders the green light to build the Riverside Smithfield Hospital in the Benns Church area of the county.
The hospital is designed to offer emergency care, which is something health leaders said the area is lacking.
"This hospital is going to serve many communities within Isle of Wight County, within Surry County, and other surrounding areas that make up the Western Tidewater region," Jessica Macalino, the associate vice president of cardiovascular and pulmonary services at Riverside Health System said.
"It's going to increase the access to more affordable, high-quality healthcare for these community members who didn't have that access before."
Drewery said first responders now drive to either Newport News or Suffolk to get patients emergency care.
"I was on an ambulance a couple of weeks ago…and it took us 38 minutes to get to Riverside from where we were," he said. "Now, to have them right in our backyard is really something exciting," Drewery said.
Drewery said access to this hospital could cut that time in half.
"We look forward to, once the facility actually opens, working with them and working through having them involved in our community and having them actually be a part of the community," Drewery said. "More so than what they are now."
Riverside Health already provides other services in the county, but Macalino said the health system is excited to bring such necessary care to the area.
"We have remained committed to the communities of Isle of Wight and Surry County for a very long time and we're just excited to continue to improve the lives of so many people with the new Riverside Smithfield Hospital," Macalino said.
The 50-bed acute care facility will include a labor and delivery department and imaging services, along with an emergency department.
Riverside Health leaders hope to break ground by the end of this year and the facility is set to be open by 2025.