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Overhaul of Vancouver General Hospital Emergency Department Complete

July 16th, 2007
Vancouver- The completion of extensive renovations to the Emergency Department at Vancouver General Hospital will increase patient capacity, improve infection control and introduce a new donor-funded CT scanner to British Columbia’s busiest trauma hospital.

“The emergency department improvements unveiled today and Canada’s first-ever dual source scanner will assist care providers in better diagnosing critically ill and trauma patients who come to Vancouver General Hospital from all over the province,” said Health Minister George Abbott “All across British Columbia, patients and their care providers are benefiting from modernized and upgraded facilities that deliver the best patient care possible.”

The renovations cost $3.7 million and were completed in four phases over 16 months. The number of patient beds has been increased from 22 to 28, with sliding glass doors between many beds to maintain patient privacy and dignity and provide infection control between patients. Other improvements and additions include:

  • Reconfiguration of the radiology section with the Emergency Department (ED), including the creation of a reception area, to better accommodate patients and create space for the first dual source CT scanner in Canada;
  • Creation of a negative pressure pandemic triage area;
  • Installation of enhanced security features;
  • Addition of psychiatric observation rooms;
  • New nurses station; and
  • Improvements to the isolation rooms.
“The Emergency Department at VGH handles 66,000 patients a year, a figure that is increasing at a rate of four per cent annually,” noted VCH president and CEO Ida Goodreau. “These renovations will enable us to provide quality care in a more efficient and patient-focused environment.”

A major addition to the Emergency Department and trauma unit at VGH is a new donor-funded dual source CT (computed tomography) scanner. A CT scanner uses special X-ray equipment to obtain image data from different angles around the body and then uses computer processing of the information to show a cross-section of body tissues and organs.

Rapid diagnosis is crucial during the “golden hour” – the first 60 minutes that follows a traumatic injury, when immediate care is essential to the patient’s survival. This advanced and sophisticated CT scanner optimizes the “golden hour.” It uses two X-ray sources and two detectors at the same time, operating about twice as fast as a 64-slice scanner

“Because of its greater speed, the scanner exposes the patient to only half the radiation dose of a regular machine,” explained Dr. Nestor Muller, regional medical director, radiology. “And because it’s faster, it allows us to obtain higher quality images of the heart, allowing for much better characterization of normal and abnormal tissue and improved diagnosis.”

VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation spearheaded the fundraising for the new $2.6-million CT scanner with gifts from Gordon and Leslie Diamond and donors to the Foundation’s ‘in it for life’ Fund, which supports the areas of greatest need at VGH, UBC Hospital and GF Strong Rehab Centre to purchase life-saving equipment. In 2006, the newest building on the VGH site was named the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre to recognize the $20 million gift the couple bestowed on the hospital.

“We thank Gordon and Leslie Diamond and the many donors to our ‘in it for life’ Fund for their tremendous contribution towards supporting specialized care at Vancouver General Hospital,” said Ron Dumouchelle, president and CEO of the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. “The outstanding generosity of philanthropic partners helps support a world-class facility like VGH.”

Across British Columbia, more MRI and CT scanners are resulting in thousands more exams. Since 2001/02, B.C. has acquired 13 new CT scanners for hospitals giving a current total of 45 CT scanners. And since 2001/02, B.C. has acquired 10 new MRI scanners for hospitals giving a current total of 19 MRI scanners. The Province also purchased its first publicly funded PET scanner in 2005. Better access results in thousands more MRI and CT exams. In the last four years, the province performed 38 per cent more CT exams and 62 per cent more MRI exams.

VCH is responsible for the delivery of $2 billion in community, hospital and residential care to over one million people in communities from Richmond through Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.

VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation is a registered charity that raises funding for the latest, most sophisticated medical equipment, leading-edge research and improvements to patient care for Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, GF Strong Rehab Centre and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. Last year, the Foundation raised nearly $35 million for world-class health care for people across B.C.

British Columbia’s health system will benefit from investments such as new medical equipment and modernized emergency departments over the next three years as part of the $2.1-billion health sector capital plan.


For more information:

Marisa Adair
Communications Director
Ministry of Health
Tel: 250.952.1887
Cell: 250.920.8500

Viviana Zanocco
Senior Media Relations Officer
Vancouver Coastal Health
Cell: 604.612.8053

Jon Hicke
Director, Marketing & Communications
VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation
Tel: 604.875.5196
[email protected]