With higher than planned spending, Red Deer hospital should receive more dollars for expansion

With higher than planned spending, Red Deer hospital should receive more dollars for expansion

Premier announced hospital was to receive $100M for improvements

With the Alberta government unexpectedly ramping up infrastructure spending, a Red Deer hospital advocate expects to see more money for long-awaited improvements.

In February, Premier Jason Kenney pledged $100 million for the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre for construction in 2021, as part of the first phase of improvements to the facility.

Dr. Keith Wolstenholme, an orthopedic surgeon at the hospital, said $100 million was a good place to start. However, that isn’t going to be enough.

Monday morning, Kenney announced a $10-billion recovery plan to get Alberta out of the economic malaise created by the ongoing pandemic and the sluggish oil and gas industry.

The new infrastructure spending plan is 40 per cent higher than what was budgeted in the province’s capital plan for this fiscal year. It includes the largest infrastructure build in Alberta’s history.

“With 40 per cent higher-than-planned spending in infrastructure, I would fully expect the Red Deer Regional Hospital will get more than the previously mentioned $100 million, and this is our start to full redevelopment and expansion for a new tower,” he said.

Wolstenholme said $100 million will ensure a much-needed cath lab for the hospital, as well as provide the facility with additional beds, but it won’t suffice for everything that’s needed.

The surgeon explained the money won’t buy, for instance, expansion of the emergency department.

“It’s going to take a lot more if we’re talking about real expansion of our hospital capacity,” he said, adding the hospital is in need of a new building to fulfill patient needs.

“We’ve crammed patients in every nook and cranny in this current footprint, and we need to expand our footprint at Red Deer Regional Hospital.

“We need hundreds of millions of dollars for a new tower, which will include expanded emergency departments, more hospital beds, more programs and more capacity to get patients in for scheduled surgeries, along with emergency surgeries.”

Finance Minister Travis Toews said project-specific information about the increased infrastructure spending, including timelines, will be available in coming weeks.

“Broadly speaking, we are looking at moving forward some of our infrastructure projects in the upcoming months, so stay tuned,” said Toews, adding he is aware of the importance of the hospital project to central Albertans.

In February, Kenney announced a $5-million commitment in 2020-21 for planning and consultation on the hospital’s expansion.

“The bottom line is construction work will begin on the expansion and the refurbishment of the Red Deer hospital next year, in 2021,” Kenney said earlier this year.

Whether or not the new funding plan will accelerate hospital expansion is not known. Toews said the February announcement still stands and said it underpins the importance of the hospital upgrade.

“But in terms of specific projects, I can’t reveal anything,” said Toews Monday.



mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Just Posted

New admissions have been suspended for Engineering Technology diplomas (Instrumentation, Electrical and Mechanical) and the Transitional Vocational Program at Red Deer College. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Developmentally disabled impacted: Red Deer College suspends program

Transitional Vocational Program comes to an end

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is asking Albertans to do their part by observing gathering limits, staying home if unwell, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three new Central zone COVID-19 deaths, Alberta adds 1,433 cases

Red Deer down to 802 active cases of COVID-19

NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman holds up freedom of information requests that turned up no records. The Opposition requested back-to-school re-entry plan correspondence between Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and school boards, teachers and the media. Photo via Facebook live
NDP renews calls for Alberta gov’t to scrap K-6 draft curriculum

The NDP is once again calling on the Alberta Government to get… Continue reading

Earlier this week Alberta Health Services warned that Rocky Mountain House Health Centre emergency department would be temporarily without physician coverage from May 12, at 6 p.m., to May 13, at 7 a.m. (Photo contributed by the Town of Rocky Mountain House)
Doctors needed in Rocky Mountain House

Emergency department temporarily closed due to doctor shortage

The owner of Mae’s Kitchen in Mirror, says hamlet residents were ‘disheartened’ by a recent anti-restriction protest. The restaurant is following all the health restrictions in place. (Photo courtesy Mae’s Kitchen Facebook)
‘We don’t need that’: Mirror restaurant against recent anti-restriction protest

A week after a large anti-restriction protest at The Whistle Stop Cafe… Continue reading

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Winnipeg Jets' Kyle Connor (81) scores on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (36) as TJ Brodie (78) defends during second-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Friday, May 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Connor scores twice, Jets beat Leafs in regular-season finale

Connor scores twice, Jets beat Leafs in regular-season finale

Atletico Ottawa defender Vashon Neufville controls the ball during Atletico Ottawa’s first team practice of their inaugural season in the Canadian Premier League in Ottawa, Wednesday June 3, 2020. The Canadian Premier League plans to kick off its third season mid-June to early July in one location without fans. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Wattie
Canadian Premier League delays kickoff again, looks to mid-June to early July start

Canadian Premier League delays kickoff again, looks to mid-June to early July start

Calgary’s Stephen Ames shoots 66 to take Mitsubishi Electric lead

Calgary’s Stephen Ames shoots 66 to take Mitsubishi Electric lead

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) deflects a shot against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, May 8, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
NHL postseason: Who’s hot as the playoffs arrive?

NHL postseason: Who’s hot as the playoffs arrive?

Ottawa Senators' Connor Brown, right, celebrates a goal with teammates during third period NHL action against the Montreal Canadiens, in Ottawa, Wednesday, March 5, 2021. Brown will lead a young Canadian squad into the world hockey championship in Riga, Latvia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Ottawa forward Connor Brown leads Canada’s roster at world championship

Ottawa forward Connor Brown leads Canada’s roster at world championship

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2018, file photo, Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Jayna Hefford shakes hands with people associated with the hall before a hockey game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New Jersey Devils in Toronto. The Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association is forging ahead in its bid to establish an economically sustainable professional league in North America with or — for now — without the NHL’s full financial backing. In response to Sportsnet.ca reporting the NHL was not in a position to operate a women’s league for the foreseeable future, PWHPA executive Jayna Hefford wrote in an email to The Associated Press late Thursday that her group has begun developing what she called “a parallel path for a future that doesn’t rely on NHL support.” (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
PWHPA forging ahead without NHL backing of women’s hockey

PWHPA forging ahead without NHL backing of women’s hockey

‘No secrets’ and no certainty in one-of-a-kind NHL playoffs

‘No secrets’ and no certainty in one-of-a-kind NHL playoffs

Supporters dance during a rally against measures taken by government and health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 at the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror, Alta., on Saturday, May 8, 2021. RCMP say they have ticketed four people after the rally that was attended by hundreds.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta leadership responsible for protests against public health orders: expert

Alberta leadership responsible for protests against public health orders: expert

Most Read