Dr. Bob Anthony (left to right)

$30 million expansion of Langley Memorial Hospital ER announced

Improvements will include 18 additional treatment spaces and a separate pediatric waiting area for children

Dr. Bob Anthony has long worked in the emergency room at Langley Memorial Hospital, and even in semi-retirement, he still chooses to commute from downtown Vancouver to Langley.

Part of the reason he makes the drive, he said, is because of the wonderful staff at LMH.

Friday’s announcement of a $30 million expansion to the LMH emergency room will allow the department to provide even better care, he told the assembled audience in the hospital’s main foyer.

“We will have the space and the technology to deliver the care we should be delivering here,” he said.

“For those who seek care here, it will mean more space, privacy, and more comfort.”

The funding was announced by Langley MLA Mary Polak, on behalf of Health Minister Terry Lake.

The expansion will increase the number of treatment spaces in the emergency department from 31 to 49, while also creating a dedicated pediatric waiting area for children.

There will also be separate entries for walk-in patients and ambulance arrivals to increase privacy, and a second trauma bay will be added.

“The entire emergency department will have additional space for families and caregivers to be present with their loved one, while ensuring an improved working environment for staff and physicians,” said Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman.

Polak said she has been in the emergency department numerous times over the past few years with her elderly father, who turned 88 earlier this month.

“And I have watched how the staff there, in some very cramped and challenging circumstances, have just done everything they possibly could to make sure their patients — my dad included — just feel the most caring and nurturing environment when they are in a vulnerable period,” she said.

Polak said she has visited the emergency room while on ride-a-longs with the Langley RCMP and the challenges the staff face when dealing with mental-health situations.

“Tremendous, tremendous staff and certainly not under the best of circumstances,” she said.

There were more than 46,000 visits to the LMH emergency room last year, said Jason Cook, the executive director of Langley Health Services and Langley Memorial Hospital.

“The expansion of the emergency department allows for better patient-centred care in a redeveloped facility,” he said.

Fraser Health is contributing $20.06 million towards the project, with the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation contributing an additional $10 million.

Vivian Smith, executive director of the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation, thanked Fraser Health and the provincial government for their commitment to making this project a reality.

“It is the citizens of Langley who will benefit from this important project,” she said.

“It will improve patient care and health services in our growing community.”

The project is expected to begin in the fall of 2018 and should take between 18 and 24 months to complete, Coleman said.

A total of 182 jobs — 113 direct and 69 jobs in supplier industries — are expected to be created.