September 10, 2010

New Victoria General Hospital Emergency centre now open

The Victoria General Hospital's new Emergency Centre is now open, as work on phase one of the $20.5 million project is completed.

Health Minister Theresa Oswald joined other officials in cutting the ceremonial ribbon for the new centre during an open house at the hospital on Sept. 10, 2010.

Further Reading
Features of phase one
Did you know?
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"The Victoria General Hospital has earned an outstanding reputation by providing top quality health care to the people of this growing community over the past century," said Oswald. "With this new state-of-the-art emergency department, the Vic is well positioned to continue providing exceptional care for another hundred years."

The first phase of the project included construction of a 12,000 sq. ft. addition to the existing emergency department. This new addition features a three-bay ambulance garage with a decontamination area, a significantly larger waiting room with a children's play area, a bariatric treatment room, and an isolation room for treating patients with potentially infectious diseases.

Arlene Wilgosh, President & CEO of the WRHA, said the new space will be a benefit to patients, their families and staff.

"This is a space designed with people in mind. There's lots of natural light, increased privacy and better working areas," she said. "It will help reduce what is by its very nature a stressful experience for patients and their families."

The expansion addresses issues of patient privacy, comfort and dignity, brought about by the huge numbers of patients seen annually. The original department was built to handle 9,000 patients. A renovation in the early 1980s increased that capacity to 15,000 patients. However, as the south end of Winnipeg grew, so did the volume of patients seen in the ER. It is estimated 30,000 people seek emergency services at the Victoria each year.

The new space sees patients requiring acute emergency care treated in one area and those requiring urgent care for minor injuries in another. This process is expected to maximize care for those with serious health issues and minimize overall wait times.

"Our staff currently does their best to divide patients into two streams, but it is a challenge to do so in our current space," said Francis LaBossiere, President and COO of the Victoria General Hospital.

The Emergency Centre is supported by the Victoria General Hospital Foundation, which is working to raise $9.5 million for three projects at the hospital: the new Emergency Centre, the completed Buhler Cancer Centre, and upgraded operating rooms with state-of-the-art, minimally invasive surgery equipment and technology. The Victoria General Hospital Foundation has raised $8.8 million toward their $9.5 million dollar goal.

The Emergency Department will remain open and operational for the duration of construction. Beginning this fall, the exterior main entrance to the new Emergency Centre will be located immediately east of the current ambulance bay.

Features of phase one

  • A new minor treatment area to handle non-urgent medical needs.

  • A six bed reassessment unit for patients who require observation and monitoring.

  • Two new resuscitation and trauma rooms.

  • Decontamination Unit for treatment of exposure to hazardous and toxic materials.

  • Negative pressure isolation room used in the treatment of communicable diseases.

  • A three-bay ambulance garage with a decontamination area and work space for emergency medical service personnel.

  • Significantly larger waiting room with a children's play area.

  • A bariatric treatment room with a lift for patients.

  • The new Emergency Centre offers a quiet room for families who may have difficult decisions to make. The quiet room is a protected and private space providing confidentiality for families and for counseling/discussions with doctors and nursing staff.

  • Environmentally friendly design features for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver designation.

Did you know?

Did you know that the original Victoria General Hospital was on River Avenue and opened in 1911? It moved to its present location on Pembina Highway in south Winnipeg in 1971 and will be celebrating its 100th anniversary next year.

The Victoria General Hospital is online at

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