Project director Karen Girling gives a tour of the new wing of the Whitehorse General Hospital. The new emergency department will see its first patients on Jan. 9. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Whitehorse’s new emergency room slated to open in early January

40,000-square-foot building will be more efficient, officials say

Whitehorse General Hospital’s new emergency department will be ready to see patients Jan. 9.

Officials snipped the ceremonial ribbon this week on the new $72-million, 40,000-square-foot building.

Karen Girling, the hospital corporation’s director of projects, said hospital staff will be spending the next few weeks getting more training on the new systems and making sure all the rooms are stocked and ready to go.

The new building is designed to be more efficient, she said.

Now, the first person a patient interacts with will be a triage nurse. Previously patients would have had to register first. Now the nurse will do a quick assessment and prioritize patients.

That’s considered a national best practice, Girling said.

“In our old space we were really challenged for that because registration was at one end of the atrium and (emergency) is at the other end.”

It also got a technology upgrade. Each room now has its own computer station to track a patient’s files.

The 17 rooms include ones specifically designed for patients who need to be isolated and one “safe room” for people in a mental health or drug-related crisis.

“It’s a room that has the capability to be used as a general exam room or converted into a room where you can’t do self-harm. We can monitor you through closed circuit TV,” Girling said.

There’s also a second trauma bay.

A final decision hasn’t been made yet on the future of the building’s second floor. The Yukon Hospital Corporation did a needs assessment and expanding the hospital’s secure medical unit was the number one priority, said hospital spokesperson James Low.

“We think this is what we should do, but now we have to go through a process to say, ‘Can we actually do it and what would it take to actually do it?’” he said.

The hospital needs to complete a business case analysis and get funding approval from the health department, he said.

After the new emergency department opens, the old entrance will become a door for non-emergency hospital business. It will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

The old ER is slated to be converted into space for the operating room department.

The public has a chance to look around the new facility on Dec. 16. The Yukon Hospital Corporation is hosting an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

HealthcareWhitehorse General HospitalYukon health and social servicesYukon Hospital Corporation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (yfned.ca)
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read