Langley Memorial Hospital’s new ER was on the verge of opening on May 3 when this photo was taken. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Langley Memorial Hospital’s new ER was on the verge of opening on May 3 when this photo was taken. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Our View: Plan for future of Langley hospitals now

Every expansion in recent years has come long after it was needed

Langley has been waiting for upgrades to its hospital for years, and then all of them arrived suddenly and at once.

The new ER is opened this week, after years of lobbying, fundraising, and finally construction. It follows the creation of a brand-new MRI clinic that will make life more convenient for thousands of local patients who need a scan.

Finally, later this year, we’re expecting to see the grand opening of Langley’s freestanding hospice facility on the hospital grounds.

It’s been decades since we saw a construction blitz on this scale at Langley Memorial Hospital (LMH).

The expansion and upgrade of the hospital’s maternity ward in 2014 was the last big change to the building’s health care services. Before that, it was the expansion of the building in the 1990s – an expansion that wasn’t fully staffed for some time, as it’s easier to build structures than to hire enough nurses and doctors to fill the wards.

Every one of the major upgrades in this century has been accompanied by a big community effort. The Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation and the Auxiliary have raised funds, galas have been thrown, politicians have been pressed for results.

It is past time we had a long-term needs-based plan for hospital and health care expansion in Langley and its neighbouring communities.

Langley, Surrey, Abbotsford, and Maple Ridge are all among the fastest growing communities in the Lower Mainland. The need for health care will only increase, and that increase is, at least in part, predictable.

It’s time for governments in British Columbia to commit to a plan that lays out what happens in 2025, 2030, 2040, and even beyond. When will LMH get another wing? What about another full hospital, a cancer clinic, a trauma centre?

Long term planning will give every generation the confidence that our health is taken seriously.

– M.C.

EditorialsOpinion