02/05/2014 01:14 EST | Updated 04/07/2014 05:59 EDT

Charlottetown hospital getting surgical upgrade, first stage finished

CHARLOTTETOWN - The first stage of an expansion to the day surgery department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown has been finished and will increase the number of surgery spaces to 18 from 10 when it is fully completed in the spring.

Health Minister Doug Currie says the expansion will help reduce wait times.

The expansion also includes additional consultation rooms for more pre- and post-surgical procedures.

As well, there will be a dedicated space for patients who have had caesarean sections to ensure their privacy.

A separate ophthalmology surgical suite is being created for cataract surgery.

Overall, the government says the space for day surgery is being more than tripled to about 21,000 square feet.

The government says this is the first renovation to the surgery department since the hospital first opened 30 years ago.