The $6.95 million expansion of the emergency department at West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni is now complete and ready to accept patients.
The expansion of the emergency department in Port Alberni, which has been in the works since 2021, adds three new patient exam beds, additional space for patients awaiting tests and results, a secure seclusion room for patients in need of emergency mental health care, improvement to the triage and admitting area, increased clinical space and a dedicated entrance for ambulances.
“The opening of this emergency department marks a great day for the people of Port Alberni and the surrounding region, providing people increased access to the emergency health services they need close to home,” said Adrian Dix, B.C. Minister of Health. “Ensuring that people have timely access to health care in their communities continues to be a top priority.”
The almost $7-million price tag was split between the provincial government ($2.55 million), WCGH Foundation ($2.4 million), the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional Hospital District ($1.7 million) and Island Health ($300,000).
“It is fantastic to see the completion of our expanded emergency department,” said Dr. Gregory dePape, Island Health medical director for the Alberni-Clayoquot region. “It provides our clinical team with the increased space and updated equipment we need for the delivery of safe, quality care in a modern hospital setting.”
In 2022, the hospital had 25,715 patient visits.
“We know that healthcare can be challenging and we still have work to do on our shared journey to improve the quality of care for not only Indigenous patients, but all clients,” said Ken Watts, elected chief of the Tseshaht First Nation. “These important emergency room improvements at WCGH are important steps forward as we commit to working hand-in-hand together, as one.”
The current WCGH opened in 2001 and has 52 inpatient beds.
“The people of the Hupačasath First Nation are very optimistic that these upgrades to the services and facilities at WCGH will benefit not only local First Nations, but all residents of the Alberni Valley and surrounding areas,” said Vanessa Charlong, health director for the Hupačasath First Nation.
“We look forward to a positive and on-going relationship with both West Coast General Hospital as well as Island Health to advance and improve health outcomes for all.”
When the project was announced in January 2021, it was estimated to cost $6.25-million.
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