PORT ALBERNI, B.C. – Shovels are in the ground to expand the emergency department at West Coast General Hospital on Vancouver Island.
The project is being led by Kinetic Construction and is expected to be ready for patients in December 2022.
“West Coast General Hospital is an important part of the community for residents in the area, including Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet, Bamfield, Hupa¢asath and Tseshaht First Nations, Uchucklesaht Tribe, Huu-ay-aht and Ditidaht First Nations, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government, Toquaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht and Hesquiaht First Nations,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health, in a statement. “The work underway will help relieve the congestion of this very busy hospital that sees more than 25,000 patient visits to the emergency department each year.”
Plans include a 244-square-metre expansion. The project features three new patient exam beds, extra space for patients awaiting tests and results, improvements to the triage and admitting area and a dedicated entrance for ambulances.
A private, safe seclusion room for patients in need of emergency mental health care will also be included. Currently, patients who are agitated or violent and need emergency mental health care are located in an assessment room near the waiting area. Officials stated a seclusion room will provide added security and privacy.
“It’s exciting to see this project underway to upgrade the emergency department,” said Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. “The work being done will improve patient privacy and make it easier for small family groups and support people to accompany their loved ones during what are often stressful times for people.”
The project is being jointly funded by the province, the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional Hospital District and the hospital foundation. B.C. is contributing $2.55 million, the district is chipping in $1.7 million and the foundation is paying $2 million.
The West Coast General Hospital opened in 2001 and has 52 beds.