Private rooms funded for emergency visits

[attach]4822[/attach]North York General Hospital is building 40 new inpatient rooms to counteract the building pressure being placed on its emergency room.

On Aug. 25, it was announced that the Ontario government had approved $20 million in funding for the project.

The hospital has been faced with an ever-increasing number of patients in the past few years due in part to the development accompanying the construction the Sheppard Avenue subway line. As a result, staff has had difficulty finding space for all of the patients. Several condominiums are now being built directly across the street from the hospital, potentially further increasing the demand on hospital resources.

“They’ve been short of beds so people have just been sort of parked in the emergency room waiting for a bed to open up,” said Willowdale MPP David Zimmer. “So this unplugs that bottleneck.”

The new rooms will be built on the seventh and eight floors of the hospital. North York General underwent an extensive expansion from 2000 to 2003, but two floors of the newly constructed southeast tower went unused, according to the hospital’s chief planning officer Tony Humphries.

“Nothing is in that space currently so with our tremendous (emergency room) pressures and wait time pressures we approached the ministry a couple of years ago and suggested that we needed more of those private and isolation rooms and that the 7th and 8th floors were available for construction,” said Humphries.

Unlike some hospital rooms where a curtain separates patients’ beds, these rooms will be designed for a single patient.

“One of the big challenges that we’ve had over the past number of years is that we don’t have enough private rooms,” Humphries said. “Private rooms are generally used for isolation patients, patients with the flu and that sort of thing.”

Humphries said construction of the project should begin in early 2013 and will likely take 18 months to complete.