Work on plans to expand Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has resumed after a three-month pause due to COVID-19.
“Alberta Health, Alberta Infrastructure and Alberta Health Services recognize the importance of this work and the disappointment the delay may have caused; however, we needed to concentrate our efforts on the response to Albertans’ health care needs during the pandemic,” said AHS in a statement Wednesday.
AHS said that initial work on the business case includes finalizing recommendations on an expanded campus of care at the hospital, and finalizing services that could more appropriately be located elsewhere in the community to keep people well and out of hospital.
In February, Premier Jason Kenney committed $100 million toward improvements at the hospital as part of the first phase of upgrades to the facility.
He said construction would begin on the hospital’s expansion and refurbishment in 2021.
A $5-million commitment in 2020-21 was also made to fund planning and consultation. Altus Planning Inc. has been selected as the consultant.
More than three years ago, about 10 doctors went public with service and infrastructure shortcomings impacting patient care at the hospital, and specifically identified the need for cardiac catheterization services.
“Enhanced cardiac care – including cardiac catheterization – has been identified as one of the priorities for RDRHC and is one of the services that will be considered as part of the business case,” AHS said.
A few weeks ago, 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.
There have been calls from the community for hospital expansion to receive recovery funding, since more than $100 million will be needed to complete the project.