Surrey Memorial Hospital home to Canada’s second-largest ER

B.C. Premier Christy Clark gets high-fives from school children, October 8th, as they show her the Get Well cards they made for the opening of the new Surrey Memorial Hospital emergency department. Ward Perrin/PNG


Canada’s second-largest emergency department officially opened in Surrey on Tuesday.

Premier Christy Clark, local MLAs and Surrey Memorial Hospital staff were on-hand to reveal the brand new $512-million expansion — of which $20 million came from Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation, which also includes funds raised by local donors.

According to Clark, the facility will “provide some of the best patient care you’ll find anywhere in Canada,” with the newly developed space about the size of three hockey rinks, boasting more than 100 private rooms as well as specific care zones, like the walk-in and triage, critical, less-critical care, mental health and substance use and pediatric zones. The pediatric zone — one of only two in B.C. — also has its own entrance, private treatment rooms, mental health zone, family area and a 24/7 care team.

“It’s going to help ease congestion, there’s going to be more space, more patient rooms, more equipment,” Clark told the crowd Tuesday morning. “It will allow health professionals be able to do their jobs better, more efficiently in a much, much better environment.”

Dr. Craig Murray speaks, October 8th, during the opening of the new Surrey Memorial Hospital Emergency department. Ward Perrin/PNG

Emergency physician Dr. Craig Murray can remember the “busy department” when he started at Surrey Memorial Hospital eight years ago.

“It essentially was a small space, it was crowded, it was chaotic — there was no privacy for patients,” he said, adding that it was “really bursting at the seams.”

Originally built in 1991, Surrey Memorial’s emergency department quickly became the busiest in British Columbia, collecting up to 100,000 visits per year.

“What we were lacking was a facility — the facility that we had before was built to accomodate 44,000 visits and we quickly outgrew that space,” said Murray.

Within the freshly unveiled emergency department’s first week, its pediatric volumes alone have gone up 50 per cent, said Murray, further adding that all of the additions are now allowing staff to provide “world-class healthcare.”

“It’s fast, it’s efficient and it’s safer,” said Murray.

Surrey Memorial’s emergency department is located on the first floor of the Critical Care Tower, with its remaining floors scheduled to open in June 2014.

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