FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2022
West Coast Hospital Foundation surpasses fundraising goal in 14 months
Port Alberni, as the West Coast General Hospital emergency department renovation and expansion moves forward, the West Coast General Hospital Foundation is pleased to announce that it has surpassed its fundraising goal of $2 million by over $400,000.
“The Foundation is deeply grateful for the incredible generosity and financial support from the community,” explains Foundation President, Dr. Robert O’Dwyer. “It is just showing us again that Port Alberni really is a town with a big heart.”
In January 2021, Island Health announced a $6.25-million emergency department redevelopment to improve patient care and privacy at WCGH. WCGH Foundation committed to raising $2 million in two years and started the Emergency Challenge as a way to get the community involved in the project. The community fully supported the Foundation, helping the Foundation wrap up the Challenge ten months ahead of schedule.
“Congratulations to the foundation for their hard work to raise funds for the renovations and expansion, and the community for supporting their fundraising efforts,” said Adrian Dix, Health Minister. “When we announced the upgrades to the hospital in 2021, we recognized how well the hospital has served the community, and acknowledged that it’s time for a refresh, so we can continue to provide high-level patient care in Port Alberni and surrounding area.”
When complete in early 2023, the redevelopment will include a 244 square metre expansion to the emergency department, as well as improvements to the existing space. It will add three new patient exam rooms, extra space for testing, a separate room for patients who need mental health care, improvements to the triage and admitting area, and two separate entrances for ambulance and the public.
“The West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni is a truly regional facility that serves people in communities well beyond the Alberni Valley, as well as visitors to the West Coast,” said Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim and Minister of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship and Minister Responsible for Fisheries. “The Foundation’s incredible fundraising success demonstrates just how valued the hospital and its dedicated staff are by the people and businesses of the entire region.”
O’Dwyer says the project is essential in order to offer a higher quality of care to an aging and growing population.
“The volume of patients we are seeing has gone up much more than projected,” he says. “The upgrades will accommodate growth while allowing us to improve the efficiency and quality of the care we offer patients and their families.”
Most of the donations came from the individuals, groups, and businesses in the Alberni Valley, but the Foundation did receive some donations from other regions. O’Dwyer says that is a reflection of who accesses WCGH, as most patients are local, but they also see people from West Coast communities, as well as Parksville and Qualicum.
O’Dwyer says patients and staff at the hospital are excited about the upgrades. The two separate entrances will offer additional privacy for patients, while a secure room will support patients with mental health challenges. The addition of the seclusion room will make the whole emergency department safer for patients waiting to be treated. All of these improvements will improve the experience for staff and patients.
The remaining costs for the project are being shared between the province ($2.55 million) and the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional Hospital District ($1.7 million).
Kathy MacNeil, Island Health President & CEO:
“These donations are truly an investment in the Port Alberni community, supporting quality patient care at West Coast General Hospital. The Island Health family is very thankful to everyone who contributed to this fundraising effort.”
Leah Hollins, Island Health Board Chair:
“Congratulations to the West Coast General Hospital Foundation for exceeding their fundraising goal and a heartfelt thank you to the Port Alberni community. All of us at Island Health are sincerely grateful to the generous donors who have contributed to the redevelopment of the emergency department for West Coast General Hospital.”
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