Vancouver General Hospital is getting a $102-million upgrade which will boost surgeries at B.C.'s largest hospital by 13 per cent, or 2,200 surgeries annually.

The project announced Wednesday will include 16 new operating rooms, a 40-bed hospital unit for before and after surgery and infrastructure upgrades including heating, ventilation, electrical and plumbing.

VGH currently has 21 operating rooms.

Dr. Marcel Dvorak, the senior medical director for Vancouver Coastal Health, said that their configuration and varying sizes make the system inefficient and inflexible.

"It's like a Rubik's cube where you don't have space to move anything," he said.

Dvorak said that emergency operations, which now account for 50 per cent of surgeries done at VGH, frequently displace scheduled surgeries.

He said he hopes the newly-announced ugprades will help resolve this issue.

"It's part of the answer. It gives us the physical plant. It gives us the rooms to address these issues. We have a bit to catch up on."

According to Dvorak, 65 per cent of patients at VGH get their surgeries within the wait times deemed appropriate by specialists.

"We need to get that up to 90 per cent, and we think that with this new facility, we can do that," he said.

The upgrades will be funded by taxpayers and donors, via the B.C. government, Vancouver Coastal Health and the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.

VGH is the adult Level 1 Accredited Trauma Centre in B.C., and handles complex cases from around the province.

Currently, 16,800 surgeries are performed at VGH per year, which is expected to increase to 19,000 when the upgrades are complete in 2021.

The project is expected to create 450 direct construction jobs, and other work in supplier industries, according to a government release.


With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast