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Expansion needed as Calgary emergency department at ‘critical point’: doctor

WATCH: The head of emergency medicine in Calgary says cramped conditions at the Peter Lougheed Centre Emergency Department have reached a critical point after plans to expand keep getting put off. Heather Yourex-West reports.

The head of emergency medicine in Calgary says cramped conditions at the Peter Lougheed Centre have reached a critical point.

Dr. Eddy Lang says the PLC’s emergency department is the smallest in the city but it treats more patients each year than any other adult hospital.

“Lougheed is far and away the busiest department in the entire province and yet it has the smallest infrastructure,” Lang said.

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For years, doctors have asked for more space. A major renovation to the hospital in 2007 laid the groundwork for an emergency department expansion, but the shelled-in space between the existing emergency department and the hospital’s ambulance bays has sat unfinished and empty ever since.

READ MORE: Doctors demand answers over unfinished renovations at Calgary hospital

According to Lang, the lack of space is impacting patient care.

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“I think its miraculous that they see as many patients as they do in as confined space as they do.  It means unfortunately that patient privacy is sometimes compromised and the waits can be variable.”

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The province said it has no current plans to fund the expansion.

In an e-mailed statement, an Alberta Health spokesperson said, “We’ve made it clear that protecting front-line health services and supporting hospitals and health care facilities is a priority for our government.

“We recognize there is more work to do to support this hospital and we have increased staffing and physician resources in the busy emergency department. Our work supporting greater health care delivery is not done.”

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