Squamish Hospital first welcomed patients back in 1952.
A new facility was built in 1988, to meet the growing community’s needs.
The Squamish Hospital Foundation, which was incorporated in 1995, has fundraised since then for items that enhance care at the hospital.
Today, Squamish General Hospital is a busy 20-bed acute care facility.
It is where to go if you have a medical emergency, but also where X-rays and ultrasounds are done and babies are born. There’s a pharmacy, chemotherapy services, and more.
Most residents and visitors who have gone to Squamish Hospital can attest it is a great facility overall, with kind and skilled staff who do their best to get people in and out with top-notch care.
But our hospital is getting increasingly busy, as evidenced by checking the ER wait times, especially on weekends in the summer.
Wait times for getting ultrasounds and the like done have also increased over the years.
And it is no wonder it is busier when you look at the population growth of Squamish alone.
In 1951, according to census figures, the population of Squamish was less than 600 residents. It was up to 10,150 in 1986.
As of 2021 census figures, the most recent we have, the town’s population was 23,819.
And VCH notes on its website that our hospital provides services to “more than 270,000 residents ... living on the North Shore, in Sea-to-Sky Country, on the Sunshine Coast and in Powell River.”
So, is VCH planning any upgrades to our popular hospital on the hill? It turns out, yes!
A spokesperson told The Squamish Chief that the health authority is “proactively planning for the future to help ensure health services are improved and enhanced for the fast-growing community.”
A long-called for and eagerly awaited CT scanner could soon be on the way. “The proposed CT scanner for SGH is going through the approval process with the Ministry of Health,” the spokesperson said.
We know the Squamish Hospital Foundation has been fundraising—and will continue to—for the scanner.
The ER is also getting an upgrade.
“We are also making upgrades to the triage area of the Emergency Department at the hospital to help improve patient flow,” the VCH spokesperson said.
While the spokesperson didn’t note it, we also know the parking lot has been redone, so it is more accessible for all, including folks with mobility issue.
And there are other long-term upgrades in the works.
“We are in the process of developing an integrated, high-level health services master plan for the Sea to Sky Corridor, and specific health-related site plans for the Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton areas,” she added. “This process will help identify additional upgrades for Squamish General Hospital, as needed.”
This is good news for locals and visitors alike.