As of Monday, the Elizabeth Avenue entrance for Princess Margaret Hospital’s (PMH) Accident and Emergency will be closed for several months, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday.
“[T]he decision was made to renovate the emergency department in two phases,” Sands told reporters during a press conference at the Ministry of Health.
“The first of these phases began in November of 2019 and will — once completed — provide a dedicated space for orthopedic and wound care services at PMH, thus removing these services from the emergency department’s current footprint.
“It will also address critical plumbing needs for the entire hospital and revamp the entrance to the emergency department. In the new year, works on phase one continue to progress.
“And as such, the construction zone will expand on Monday, January 13, 2020, and will temporarily prohibit access through the main emergency department entrance off of Elizabeth Avenue. So, we wish to advise the public of this significant development and to ensure that patients in need of emergency care are appropriately informed of how and where to access this service.”
Sands said that patients arriving at PMH by ambulance or private vehicles will be diverted to the maternity ward entrance, which is located off Sands Lane.
“Walk-in or ambulatory patients and visitors will access the department through the main hospital lobby entrance; that’s in the new critical care block off Shirley Street,” he said.
“For general hospital access, the public should use that entrance and the legacy entrance off Shirley Street.”
Sands added, “I want to conclude by saying that we anticipate that at some point in the near future we will temporarily close Elizabeth Avenue in order to affect the construction changes but, we will give the public enough notice so that they can prepare for this change.”
He said the ministry anticipates that it will receive backlash for the closure of the Elizabeth Avenue entrance.
However, Sands said it is attempting to dissuade concerns by “mitigating it with information, preparation, and planning”.
“But because it’s a change from the way that we have done business, some people are likely to find it to be an inconvenience,” he said.
“That said, if we are going to dramatically improve the quality of the patient experience at Princess Margaret Hospital — and the accident and emergency in particular — we are going to have to make some changes. You got to break some eggs to make an omelet.”
Phase one of the renovations is expected to last for 40 weeks, according to Sands.
The minister said that the second phase will start sometime this year.
Sands said the construction of the entire project is expected to cost $8.4 million.