A July 2020 infrastructure report found Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre was not meeting AHS performance targets for emergency room wait times, length of stay, and had longer wait times for surgery. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Alberta’s government reaffirms $100-million commitment for the first phase of Red Deer hospital’s expansion

Alberta Infrastructure did not provide a timeline for the money’s distribution

The previously promised $100-million for the first-phase of the Red Deer hospital expansion is coming, says the Alberta government, even though the timeline is unknown.

“To be clear, Alberta’s government remains committed to the full $100 million earmarked for the Red Deer Hospital expansion project,” said Alberta’s Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda Thursday.

“Anticipated cash flows in budget 2021’s capital plan are estimates,” he added, in response to queries from the Advocate about why $59 million was promised to the hospital project over three years in the 2021 budget, while $100 million had been pledged to the hospital’s first phase of redevelopment in 2020.

Panda did not explain over how many years this money would be distributed to an expansion project that has been sought for over a decade.

But he added that Alberta Infrastructure, in conjunction with Alberta Health Services, is doing important planning work on the hospital.

“Extensive planning is probably one of the most important parts in building health project of this size and complexity — especially when we are working within an active treatment facility, where we must preserve ongoing operations and maintain the safety of patients throughout construction,” said Panda.

“There have been slight delays in this planning process,” he added, because of the critical pandemic.

Members of the Society for Hospital Expansion in Central Alberta were pleased the government is standing behind its promise of $100-million for the first phase of the project.

But the lack of a firm timeline for the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre expansion continues to trouble Dr. Kym Jim. He noted, “There is a documented immediate need (for more hospital resources) and there should not be a delay.”

If the full $100-million isn’t coming over the next three years for the first phase of the hospital expansion, he added — then how long must central Albertans wait until the next critical phases of the project?

Jim noted the Red Deer hospital was found to be lacking 96 admitting beds, 18 emergency room beds, three operating rooms and funding for other services, including a cardiac catheterization lab in a 2017 report.

A July 2020 infrastructure report found Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre was not meeting AHS performance targets for emergency room wait times, length of stay, and had longer wait times for surgery. Medical beds were consistently “well over 100 per cent occupancy for a number of years.”

The hospital was also found to be dealing with sicker, higher-need patients as its role as a regional referral centre increases.

“I fear that central Alberta will not be getting all that is needed” said Jim.

“I would like to see a firm commitment from government that we will get those things — as well as a solid timeline” for when the additional hospital resources can be expected, he added.

Both of Red Deer’s MLAs said they were assured that the business case for the hospital project will be completed this spring, with construction beginning later this year.

Panda stressed that Red Deer MLAs Adriana LaGrange and Jason Stephan “have been very clear about the need for this project to proceed, and for its timely delivery. I will continue to work with them and the city to ensure this project meets the needs of Red Deer residents.”


-Local hospital project gets $6 million in 2021

-Pandemic causes unprecedented strain on hospital

Mayor Mayor Tara Veer, met with provincial leaders earlier this week to get some clarity on hospital funding.

While she was glad the $100 million for the initial phase of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre expansion is intact, Veer still expects provincial officials to provide “a comprehensive update to our community on the status of this imperative project within the next week.”

Red Deer North MLA Adriana LaGrange called this meeting a productive discussion.

“The hospital remains my No. 1 infrastructure priority and I know that Alberta government has not changed its commitment to fund the first phase of this project,” said LaGrange.

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan noted that the $100-million commitment is only for Phase 1 of the expansion. There will be subsequent phases requiring further investment, he added.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Ontario Premier Doug Ford points on a COVID-19 caseload projection model graph during a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario was set to backtrack on controversial new police powers to enforce stay-at-home orders implemented in the battle against COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ford backtracks on new police COVID-19 powers amid intense backlash

TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in… Continue reading

The official program for the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, sits on an empty pew prior to the ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prince Philip remembered as ‘a man of great service’ during Canada’s memorial service

Canada’s commemorative ceremony in honour of the late Prince Philip offered a… Continue reading

CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy speaks to his players during the team's practice Tuesday, March 16, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CF Montreal puts on a show, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 in MLS season opener

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — CF Montreal, carving open Toronto FC’s defence, cruised… Continue reading

Demonstrators using umbrellas as shields approach a point in a perimeter security fence during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Journalists allege police harassment at Minnesota protests

Some journalists covering protests over the police fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,… Continue reading

A container ship is docked in the Port of Montreal, Wednesday, February 17, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Montreal dockworkers begin weekend strikes as talks drag on

MONTREAL — Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal kicked off a series… Continue reading

Brad Dahr, 53, is facing numerous charges. (Photo contributed by Alberta RCMP)
Alberta man charged for alleged sexual offences against children

An Edmonton man has been charged for alleged sexual offences against children… Continue reading

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 are seen at the San Marino State Hospital, in San Marino, Friday, April 9, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni
China, Russia using their COVID-19 vaccines to gain political influence

OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19… Continue reading

Most Read