For the third time in the last seven months, generator troubles have forced the cancellation of surgeries at the IWK Health Centre.

Eleven procedures were rescheduled Wednesday due to concerns over the hospital’s aging backup power supply.

“It caused some disruption for patients and families, which is really unfortunate,” says Jocelyn Vine, vice-president of patient care.

The surgeries were cancelled after a problem with a hospital generator was discovered during a routine check.

The generator’s starter was replaced and the machine was back up and running within six hours, but the incident has Vine concerned.

“We need to know that we have backup power, so that when we undertake complex care, which is something we do every day, that we have redundancy, that we have backup if there is a power problem,” she says.  

The 35-year-old generator has failed three times since July 2012 and needs to be replaced, but replacing it won’t be cheap. Management at the IWK estimates it could cost $4 million to buy a new generator.

Last November, the hospital made a request to the province to have the unit replaced.

“We’re very concerned with it, but we’re seriously going to look at the request as we prepare the budget for this year and hopefully we can move forward and ensure that surgeries don’t get cancelled at the IWK,” says Nova Scotia Health and Wellness Minister Dave Wilson.

Tory leader Jamie Baillie says the government needs to cough up the cash.

“This is the third time this has happened in less than a year and important surgeries are being cancelled,” says Baillie. “It’s a $4 million dollar piece of equipment in a $4.5 billion dollar health care budget.”

For parents who depend on the hospital, like Mark Choeiri, that replacement can’t come soon enough.

“Power goes out all the time,” says Choueiri. “We have to do something to make sure the hospital is running in tip-top shape.”

Half of the surgeries cancelled Wednesday have been rescheduled and work is underway to fit the others into the days ahead.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Garreth MacDonald