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30 AHS facilities experiencing temporary bed, space reductions

Some communities affected
The Myron Thompson Health Centre in Sundre has been without obstetrics services since April 2020. (Photo courtesy Sundre Hospital Futures Committee Facebook)

There are 30 communities in Alberta currently being impacted by healthcare service reductions, according to Alberta Health Services.

A number of these communities impacted are in Central Alberta: Rimbey, Rocky Mountain House, Sundre and Three Hills.

Every Monday and Thursday, Alberta Health Services updates a map on its website, showing AHS facilities across the province that have, for a limited time, temporarily reduced beds and care spaces.

These temporary reductions occur due to staff and physician vacations, scheduled upgrades and construction projects in order to enhance patient and family experiences, AHS explains on the website.

“AHS plans and prepares for bed reductions to minimize impact on patients, staff and physicians,” the website states.

“AHS makes every effort to secure staff and physician coverage before taking steps to reduce the number of beds and/or care spaces in any of our facilities. Temporary reductions are only done as a last resort.”

At the Rocky Mountain House Health Centre, five of the 31 acute care beds have been reduced. The anticipated end date is Sept. 30.

At the Rimbey Hospital and Care Centre, there are currently no obstetrical services available on site. The start date for this was Sept. 20, 2021 and the anticipated end date is this upcoming Monday.

Obstetrics services have been unavailable at the Myron Thompson Health Centre in Sundre since April 6, 2020, due to a physician shortage cause by illness, leave, vacation and/or vacancies. The anticipated end date of this temporary service reduction is Aug. 29.

There are a pair of service reductions at the Three Hills Health Centre: there are no obstetrics services available on-site and seven of the 21 acute care beds are unavailable. Both anticipated end dates are scheduled towards the end of the month.

Additionally, AHS announced Wednesday that the Sylvan Lake Advanced Ambulatory Care Service was going to be closed all of Thursday. There was also an expected gap of service on Saturday that AHS was working to cover.

Christina Gray, Alberta NDP labour critic, said Albertans deserve a public healthcare system they can rely on.

“But after the UCP’s severe mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic, their ongoing push to privatize services, and their sustained attacks on frontline health care workers, access to health care for Albertans is more compromised than ever before,” said Gray.

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