Provincial health minister Adrian Dix spoke Friday to announce the upcoming construction of an expansion to Abbotsford Regional Hospital. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News

Abbotsford hospital has ‘extraordinary’ challenges, says health minister as ER construction nears

Construction to begin this fall on expanded emergency department at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

Abbotsford Regional Hospital “is extraordinary and faces extraordinary challenges,” B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said Friday at an event to announce the selection of the builder for an expanded emergency department.

The congestion-plagued hospital’s emergency department is slated for a $15 million expansion, with another $1.25 million slated to buy equipment for the new facility.

Twelve patient exam rooms and new trauma bays will be included in the new area. The project will also see renovations to the existing triage area and stretcher bays, along with the relocation of ambulance bays.

New lounge areas and bathrooms will also be added. Construction is expected to begin this fall and continue until 2021.

“The new emergency department is specifically designed to better identify and coordinate care for patients from the moment they come in,” Dix said.

The project was first announced in the spring of 2017 by the previous Liberal government. Although officials said at the time that construction would start in 2018, construction was bumped back a year due to what Fraser Health said were structural and organizational adjustments to improve the existing emergency department.

The department is one of several areas in the hospital that are plagued by overcrowding.

Although the time to first see a doctor is in line with averages across the region, figures show that two of every three admitted patients wait in the emergency room longer than 10 hours. Last year, Abbotsford hospital operated 17 per cent over capacity in its acute care wards, a figure only topped among larger hospitals by that in Chilliwack. The ER expansion won’t address the demand for a lack of beds, but Dix and Fraser Health CEO Victoria Lee said officials are aware of those constraints and trying to fix them.

“We obviously have to improve services in the community, we have to deal with patient flow issues in hospital, we have to ensure people have a place to go so they can be discharged … and we have to ensure there’s excellent primary care,” he said.

The project was first announced two years ago by the previous Liberal government. That announcement came less than two months after a three-year-old girl died after being sent home from the ARH emergency room. Nimrat Girl was later found to have had an “invasive” bacterial infection.

On Monday, Dix pushed back against the suggestion that he was re-announcing a project that had been initiated by the previous Liberal government two years ago. He said the 2017 announcement came just before that spring’s provincial election and didn’t include the planning that preceded Friday’s media event.

“Some press release writers got writers cramp, but other than that they meant very little.”

He said that Friday’s event differed because “we’re well along the way, we have a successful bidder on the project … we’ve done the work, we’re ready to go, we’re starting to build.”

RELATED: Abbotsford ER expansion will improve work conditions: doctor

RELATED: ARH emergency department to get $15 million expansion

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Foundry Abbotsford celebrates two years of service

Agency provides support to youth ages 12 to 24 and their families

Andrea Senft elected board chair of Abbotsford Community Foundation

Senft has worked for school district for 12 years and sits on several community boards

Abbotsford Police hold summer geocaching event

Residents invited to discover city while finding hidden treasures

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Abbotsford celebrates Canada Day in a virtual way

Online activities include pet parade, performances and interactive play zones

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Tsilhqot’in Nation demands meeting with feds on declining Fraser River chinook stocks

The Nation wants to partner with DFO to rebuild and recover the stocks

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

Northbound lane of Coquihalla closed after vehicle incident near Hope

A northbound lane is closed just north of the Great Bear Snowshed, according to DriveBC

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

Most Read