It’s been more than a year since the new Langley Memorial Hospital emergency room officially opened its doors and began accepting patients.
Officially called the Martini Family Emergency Centre, the project was funded by more than $29 million from the provincial government and over $15 million from the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation (LMHF), which blew past its original $10 million fundraising goal and then some.
The years-long effort to raise money and get the ER built wrapped up last May when the doors opened, along with the start of operations for a new MRI clinic.
In the first year of its operation, the new ER welcomed 49,155 patients, an average of 147 a day. That’s up from 42,295, or 115 a day, in the year before the new facility opened.
The new ER has 49 care spaces, up from 31.
“It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a huge change,” Dr. Willem De Vynck told the LMHF as part of a one-year retrospective on the project’s completion.
The changes mean more space, natural light in some areas, and more patient privacy. There are now separate entrances for walk-in patients and those arriving in an ambulance.
There’s also an ER space set aside for kids.
“We are seeing children quicker, and we are getting them sorted into the department quicker,” Dr. Navjot Sandhu told the LMHF. “In that way it is a much better experience than what the old department was.”
Indirectly, a new hospital in Cloverdale, now under construction, is also expected to take some pressure off Langley Memorial.
With the ER up and running, the LMHF has turned its attention to other projects. Although none of them are on the scale of the $16.75 million raised for the ER and MRI suite, they are significant additions to Langley’s overall health system.
The Foundation is currently 90 per cent of the way to its $2.1 million fundraising goal for money for the new Foundry centre in Langley City. Foundry locations offer physical and mental health resources to young people, and are being established in communities across B.C. Encompass will operate the local centre on Eastleigh Crescent, with the LMHF funding paying for major renovations to a building.
“We don’t stop when they open the doors,” noted Terra Scheer, a spokesperson for the LMHF.
The foundation is planning to raise money for an Innovation Fund that will allow the Foundry to quickly serve needs that arise during the year, without having to wait for new funding or grants to be approved.
From youth, the opposite end of the age spectrum is expected to get a lot of attention soon, said the foundation’s executive director, Heather Scott.
“A key focus for the foundation will be seniors care,” she said.
It’s expected that in the relatively near future, Langley Memorial and Fraser Health will want to replace the long term care residences on the hospital grounds.
There’s not been an announcement of official plans, a start date, or a budget, but Scott expects the foundation will be ready to raise money for the project when there is.
In the meantime, the foundation is looking at shoring up services in the community.
While best known for funding big capital projects like the hospital ER and maternity ward expansions, Scott said that everything from home care to acute long term care services for seniors in Langley will likely receive support from the LMHF.
The foundation only does targeted fundraising, Scott noted. They don’t ask donors for money just for the foundation to hold on to – only for specific projects.
“It’sis not about us,” she said. “It is about health care.”
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