One of the busiest hospitals in the province will be getting a boost in funding, and a much needed expansion, according to an announcement from Premier Jason Kenney Wednesday morning.
The Province of Alberta is pledging $137 million in funding to expand the emergency department and mental health units at the Calgary hospital, which has one of the most congested emergency departments in the province.
“For years, Calgarians have been calling for the Peter Lougheed Centre to be expanded, and our government is delivering,” said Premier Jason Kenney in a release.
“We are committed to making long-term capital investments in the facilities that Albertans need to stay healthy, strengthening public health care and improving access to the services that matter most.”
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According to the province, The Peter Lougheed Centre opened in 1988 with an emergency department designed to accommodate 30,000 to 40,000 patient visits, and a maximum design capacity of 59,500 visits, but in 2018-2019, the hospital handled almost 82,000 emergency visits.
The renovations will add a new mental health intensive care unit and expand the mental health short-stay unit, which was consistently at more than 100% capacity.
Mental health visits to the emergency department have increased by more than one-third in the past five years.
“A new rapid-response laboratory will also be built to replace the current ageing lab, and provide state-of-the-art diagnostic services,” said the release.
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro says the new funding will help overworked staff at the hospital.
“Staff at Peter Lougheed hospital have been going full blast for many years, providing top-quality emergency care to twice as many patients as the space was designed to serve,” said Shandro.
“This project will give families in and around Calgary better access to life-saving emergency and mental health services.”
The provincial budget for this year commits $137 million to the project over three years, with construction of the first phase of the project to start in 2022.
“This will include expansion of the emergency department by 1,500 square metres, including new triage and trauma areas, and moving the ambulance drop-off closer to the emergency department,” said the release.