Eilat has the smallest general hospital in the country, but at least now the first construction stage of a new emergency department has been completed. By mid-2014, the old emergency facility will be renovated and integrated with the new part so it covers 1,050 sq.m. – instead of the tiny 200-sq.m. in the old emergency department.Josephthal is owned by Clalit Health Services. Its emergency department already handles 55,000 patient visits each year, with between 10 and 200 patients daily. Tens of millions of shekels were invested by Clalit in the new section, said health fund directorgeneral Eli Depes.“Clalit has set as a strategic target the strengthening of medicine and infrastructure at Josephthal,” he said, “so that the people of Eilat and its environs [as well as tourists] get the level of medicine they deserve.” The emergency room was designed to cope with the expected growth in the city and changes in medical care in the coming years.The department, at a cost of NIS 24 million, partially donated by the Toronto Jewish Federation and Keren Hayesod in Canada, will include 45 beds instead of the current nine. Two trauma rooms, two intensive care rooms, two isolation rooms and four pediatric beds will be established, along with examination and treatment rooms.Privacy and esthetics will be main themes of the department.The veteran emergency treatment facility had to cope some years ago with a major terror attack on the Taba Hilton and two smaller ones at Ras el-Satan, with a total of 168 wounded; the overturning of a bus full of Russian tourists, in which 32 were hurt; and a chlorine leak from an Eilat hotel that brought 140 victims to the hospital for inhalation of the chemical. Hospital director-general Dr. Avi Goldberg and ER director Kobi Arad welcomed the conclusion of the first stage of development.