Photo by Nikki Cook

Patient patients the big winners in hospital renovations

Scarborough resident Alysha Phalen looks forward to the day when a visit to the hospital won’t take up half a day.

Last February she went to the Scarborough Hospital for a minor procedure.

“I went for my RhoGAM shot (used to prevent an immune response to Rh positive blood in people with an Rh negative blood type) I had to wait just over 10 hours,” she said

The construction of the new Emergency and Critical Care Centre (ECCC) is underway at the Scarborough Hospital.

The Director of Capital Projects, Henry Borkowski, acknowledged that changes need to be made.
“This has been planned for 10-years.

We are going to close old departments and renovate the space for other purposes,” he said. “Our replacement buildings will feature a new emergency department, intensive care unit and coronary care unit.”

The ECCC will expand the service area by 15,000 square feet. It will include a 14-bed intensive care unit and an eight-bed coronary care unit and will eliminate large open areas to ensure more patient privacy.

It’s not just the long wait that bothered the patients. Chris McConnell, who brought a friend to the emergency department following an accident at work, said that he didn’t like being in the same room as people who are in pain. He added that they “deserved their privacy.”

Currently, the $48-million construction project, phase two of four, has just over a year and a half to go.
The project’s superintendent is Jeff Hadden of Ellis Don. He said there will be about 110-115 men working on site over the duration of the renovation.

“We (Ellis Don) have a handful of labourers who do general clean-up and at one time we can have up to or more than 45 men who are tradesmen that do contracted work for us,” Hadden said. “They work with drywall or electrical and mechanical aspects of the job.

“The project is on budget and on schedule and is expected to be completed by the spring of 2009,” Hadden and Borkowski agreed.

Although the construction is expected to create a positive change, Borkowski says hospital staff have to endure the negative effects of the project.

“One of the biggest challenges with construction like this is that walls are being broken down and people are being moved,” he said. “Staff gets used to a routine, so things like this affect them … major changes like these occur every eight years.”