The Green Party’s health critic says renovations announced Friday at Kings County Memorial Hospital do not go far enough to address the building’s issues.

Michele Beaton, MLA for Mermaid-Stratford, said ongoing work to the hospital’s main entrance and kitchen are needed, but much more needs to be addressed.

“These issues are a concern, but we have to look at everything that’s required in order to bring the building up to standard. I feel successive governments have overlooked the need to have good infrastructure at health care facilities. I am happy to see the work being done, but would like to see a business case for what the renovations will accomplish versus a business case for a new facility.”

Ms Beaton said it would take five to seven years before a new hospital would be ready for operation, so planning for the future is required.

“This is a Band-Aid and now we need to see a long-term plan for the building. I don’t think it goes far enough because there is still a laundry list of issues. Health care workers deserve to work in a facility that is efficient and safe.”

The project is estimated at nearly $1 million and is expected to wrap up by mid-2022.

Once complete, patients will sign in at a different area of the hospital to protect medical privacy. Currently, all visitors sign in at the entrance within earshot of other people.

Renovations will also take place in the kitchen, which was first built in 1971. The province says alternate arrangements will be made for patient meals.

The work in the lobby will mean fewer seats are available in the ER waiting room, and an increase in registration time is expected.

Ms Beaton pointed to the many ER closures caused by lack of staffing and hopes emergency room patients will be accommodated in other ways, such as waiting for a call in their vehicle.

“They know that’s going to happen so there should be a plan and that should be communicated to the public,” she said.

Ms Beaton said the KCMH cannot be allowed to erode to the point where it’s no longer usable.

“We recognize the Kings County Memorial Hospital is critically important to people who live in that area. Short-term fixes won’t help when it comes to this kind of capital infrastructure.”

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