Construction for a bigger and better hospital in Abbotsford, B.C. will begin in the fall, the provincial government announced on Friday.
The $16.2-million project will expand the emergency department at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, which has seen an increase in the number of patients over the past years.
"The emergency room has been operating at over capacity for a very long time," said Health Minister Adrian Dix, from the hospital.
"It's not fair to the people who need emergency services."
Over 77,000 patients were treated in the Abbotsford hospital emergency room in 2018-2019 — a 13 per cent increase compared to five years earlier.
Despite large patient volumes, Dix said the doctors and the nurses and the healthcare workers "do extraordinary work everyday."
In 2017, Fraser Health Authority launched a patient and safety review investigation after a toddler was admitted to the emergency room, discharged and later died.
At the time, the child's mother told CBC News that she believes her daughter should have received better treatment and described long waits in the emergency room.
The 825-square-metre expansion in the emergency room will add new trauma bays and 12 additional patient exam rooms as well as renovations to the current ambulance bays and triage area.
Those changes will improve patient flow, Dix said.
"The new emergency department is specifically designed to better identify and coordinate care for patients from the moment they come in," he said.
The province is paying $15 million toward the project and an additional $1.25 million is being funded by the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation.
The emergency room will stay open during the renovations, which are expected to be completed by the summer of 2021.