A near $10 million project will expand access to surgeries at the Rocky Mountain House Health Centre, the Government of Alberta announced Friday.
The project will build a new operating room to support the surgical program and upgrade the medical device reprocessing department, where reusable medical devices are cleaned and sterilized.
The construction is also part of the Alberta Surgical Initiative, which aims to provide surgeries to all patients within wait times recommended by medical experts.
“We’re committed to building a stronger health system for all Albertans,” said Minister of Health Tyler Shandro.
“Better, more modern health facilities across rural Alberta will ensure quality care into the future. Expanding this facility will mean more surgeries closer to home for residents in Rocky Mountain House and central Alberta.”
There is currently one operating room at the Rocky Mountain House hospital, where about 150 procedures are completed each month, including about 60 general and gynecological surgeries, 90 endoscopies, plus hernia repairs, carpal tunnel repairs and other minor procedures.
With the addition of a new dedicated operating room, the hospital will have capacity to perform 120 surgeries each month – almost double the current number. The existing operating room will become a procedure room and will offer triple the number of endoscopies and minor procedures, or about 240 procedures each month.
The project will also include additional recovery rooms and patient support areas.
“Rural communities help make our province grow and thrive,” said Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks, and MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre.
“The Rocky Mountain House Health Centre plays an important role in the well-being of this community and the surrounding area, and investments like this one will make sure that the facility can deliver safe, efficient surgical care for years to come.”
Enhancements to rural surgical programs in Alberta Health Services’ Central zone are expected to reduce pressure on sites such as the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre and enable patients to be treated closer to home, the provincial government noted.
“This funding will have a direct impact on our ability to enhance the surgical program in Rocky Mountain House and in central Alberta. It is vital we keep our health-care infrastructure current and up to date, and projects like these help maintain our facilities and ensure our patients receive quality care in the best environments,” said Dr. Verna Yiu, AHS president and CEO.
The Rocky Mountain House and Area Health Services Foundation is launching a campaign to raise funds to support furnishing the new space with additional equipment and patient comfort items.
Design work on the project is underway and is expected to be complete in early 2022. Once the design is approved, construction timelines will be finalized and shared with the community.