Victoria General triples the size of
VICTORIA – Premier Gordon Campbell
and Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon celebrated a milestone in the
delivery of trauma care on Vancouver Island as they officially opened
the new, three-times larger $18.8-million emergency department at
Victoria General Hospital.
“This new emergency department means better, faster treatment with more
privacy for patients,” said Premier Campbell. “There are 75 percent more
treatment bays than there were before, and with the new specialized
rooms for pediatric care, patients will receive top-quality care in
modern, state-of-the-art settings.”
The new emergency department has a total of 35 treatment bays (up from
20), and a patient-friendly design, which offers separation and
increased privacy for different patient groups, including a separate
pediatric waiting room. The increase in capacity will accommodate the
increase in patient visits – from 10,000 to about 36,000 – since it was
built in 1983.
“This new emergency department will provide patients on Vancouver Island
with the highest level of trauma care,” said Minister Falcon. “It will
also help to provide improved access for patients. With an internal
waiting area and treatment rooms for ambulatory patients, the layout
should significantly reduce waiting time for patients.”
The $18.8-million project was funded by the Province, through Vancouver
Island Health Authority (VIHA), the Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD)
and the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, which has played an important
role by contributing funding to support new equipment in the emergency
“The Capital Regional Hospital District is proud to join together with
the Province, VIHA and the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, to celebrate
the opening of the new, state-of-the-art emergency department,” said
Graham Hill, chair of the CRHD. “This significant investment will
tremendously expand the capacity of emergency health care services in
our region and will directly support the needs of patients, and our
physicians and nurses who provide first-class care in this busy
At 1,660 square metres (about 17,868 square feet) it is three times the
size of the old ER, and has been built with pediatric patients in mind,
with many pediatric-specific areas within the main department. It also
allows for more specialized trauma equipment and staff.
“As the pediatric centre for Vancouver Island, the new emergency also
provides a trauma room complete with the latest specialized equipment
needed to care for our smallest patients,” said VIHA board member Brenda
Nunns Shoemaker. “There is also a separate waiting room for children, to
help make a visit to the hospital a little less scary for kids.”
Dr. Stephen Wheeler, VGH trauma director, has been working on plans for
the new department for many years, and said patients are the big
winners. “I would like to thank the Victoria Hospitals Foundation for
their tireless fundraising efforts to provide the best equipment
available – including new LED examination lights, video cameras to help
insert breathing tubes, and high-resolution computer screens for reading
x-rays,” said Dr. Wheeler.
Other features of the VGH emergency department include:
• Three separate entrances – one for walk-in patients and visitors, one
for ambulances and police, and an isolation entrance for patients who
arrive with an infectious disease or contamination.
• Enhanced facilities for decontamination of patients who may have been
exposed to hazardous materials, including three isolation rooms.
• A secure room for pediatric and adult psychiatric emergencies.
• A new helipad with direct access to the new emergency department.
• Expanded space and upgraded diagnostic equipment to provide a
first-class working environment for physicians and health-care
The completed emergency department at VGH is one of the ways the
province is building better health care on southern Vancouver Island,
including the new $350 million Royal Jubilee Hospital patient care
tower. Over the next three years, the Province’s health-care system will
benefit from $2.9 billion in capital services investment.
Posted Sept. 24/09