11/10/2011 08:41 EST | Updated 01/10/2012 05:12 EST

Nova Scotia's aging hospitals getting $22 million in capital upgrades

HALIFAX - The government of Nova Scotia is jumping the gun on its spring budget by announcing $22 million in capital spending to upgrade aging health-care facilities.

Health Minister Maureen MacDonald says the money will make hospitals safer and more sustainable over the long term.

In a release issued today, the government says it wants to send a clear signal about its intentions and give private companies greater opportunity to prepare for upcoming projects.

Most of the money, $13.5 million, will be used for building maintenance, upgrading energy efficiency, ensuring environmental sustainability and improving occupational health and safety.

The balance will be used to replace and upgrade hospital elevators, address fire safety recommendations identified by the auditor general and replace dust collection systems to improve air quality.