A media event was held on Friday to mark the start of a project to expand the emergency department at Edmonton’s Misericordia Community Hospital.
The demolition and remediation phase, which is expected to take four months, officially begins Monday.
The former NDP government announced the hospital expansion project in April 2017. It revealed the modernization would include a new ER, 34 additional treatment spaces, two more ambulance bays and two X-ray suites.
On Friday, the United Conservative government said the expansion would include space for six ambulance bays, “emergency waiting and treatment areas and diagnostic services.”
The UCP said the expansion will be 5,000 square metres (up from 1,700 square metres), with 66 treatment spaces, six ambulance bays, and two X-ray suites.
“The environment is just not conducive to the volume and type of care we’re trying to provide so we’re so grateful for this expansion,” said Patrick Dumelie, CEO of Covenant Health.
“In our current environment, we are using hallways and all sorts of spaces, trying to provide care to people, and they need that extra space and the privacy.”
The new space will be able to accommodate 60,000 patient visits per year, which is the same estimate the NDP gave.
“With the increased emergency department capacity, Covenant Health and the Misericordia will be better equipped to provide high-quality, compassionate care to our patients and to serve as an important partner in Alberta’s health-care system,” Dumelie said.
“The new ED is critical to meeting the health care needs of our communities.”
“Medicine has changed dramatically since the 60s when that building was built, so it allows us to have the most modern technology and the most efficient,” Dumelie added.
The province also said the project will create about 445 jobs during the construction phase.
“Hundreds of skilled tradespeople and professionals in Alberta will be key to building a top-quality emergency department,” Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda said.
“Following the demolition phase, we’ll bring in the big equipment, and construction activities will start this summer running through to late 2022. We know that building the vital public infrastructure, on which Albertans rely, is key to attracting investment and ensuring our province remains on the road to economic recovery.”
The existing emergency department will stay open until the expanded one is operational. The new ER is expected to open sometime in 2023.