In May, 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)

In May, 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)

Kenney does nothing as rural hospitals close beds, cancel surgeries, say NDP

Rocky Mountain House among communities that has seen emergency room closures

Eight rural communities have seen recent service cuts, or bed closures, at their hospital, and Jason Kenney’s government is failing to act, says the NDP.

On Monday, Edson Healthcare Centre announced that six of its 24 acute-care beds would be closed until September due to a staff shortage.

That same day, Boyle Healthcare Centre had no doctor in its emergency department for 24 hours.

“While Jason Kenney and Tyler Shandro were sipping whisky on the Sky Palace patio and failing to take action, rural Albertans were losing access to healthcare in their community,” said David Shepherd, NDP health critic.

“Jason Kenney is focused on his own internal UCP drama; families and businesses in rural Alberta are being put at risk.”

The NDP said cuts to service have multiplied over the past month.

Hospitals in Rocky Mountain House hospital and Fairview saw emergency room closures over the past month.

The emergency department in Elk Point was intermittently without doctor coverage over the past month, and will have no doctors in the emergency room on Tuesdays and Thursdays until further notice.

In St. Paul, St. Therese-St. Paul Healthcare Centre is closing 10 of its 30 beds until the end of August. This follows two halts to surgeries in St. Paul, including C-sections, due to a staffing shortage.

In Galahad, 18 seniors were uprooted from their homes and moved to other communities because of a lack of staffing.

In Westlock, the hospital was forced to cancel C-sections due to a lack of staffing.

“I’m hearing loud and clear from rural leaders that this UCP government is failing to listen to them and one of their top concerns is a lack of healthcare professionals,” Shepherd said.



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