Expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre is a priority, says Alberta Health Services.
The provincial agency recently released its multi-year health facility infrastructure capital submission that lists nine priority projects, including the local hospital expansion.
Every year, AHS prepares its capital submission list, which identifies priority major capital projects. The list provides advice to government to help guide funding decisions.
The 2017 submission did not include Red Deer hospital.
In a statement this week, AHS’s Kerry Bales said major site redevelopment at the hospital has long been among the projects for consideration in future capital plans.
The 2018 capital submission list cites the local hospital’s performance, which does not meet AHS’s performance targets for emergency wait times, length of stay or wait times for surgical procedures.
“Medical beds have been consistently operating well over 100 per cent occupancy for a number of years,” the capital submission list states.
The list does not include a cost estimate for the Red Deer redevelopment and expansion project.
“We have recently completed a needs assessment update for Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, utilizing the latest data available and consulting with local physicians and health care providers,” said Bales, chief zone officer for AHS’s central zone.
“The update reaffirms that redevelopment and expansion is necessary at the hospital to meet health-care needs now and into the future, and we are pleased that this year, Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre is again listed among the identified high priority capital projects AHS has submitted to Alberta Health,” he said.
It’s now possible to consider what health services, programs and infrastructure would be necessary for specialized cardiac programs, Bales said.
“This process will include an analysis of existing infrastructure and building space, bed capacity, community supports, cardiac wellness and rehabilitation programs and personnel requirements for these services.”
Consistently one of the five busiest hospitals in Alberta, Red Deer hospital was short 96 beds, three operating rooms and 18 emergency room treatment stretchers in 2015.
A cardiac catheterization laboratory is among the services doctors are calling for. In 2016, doctors reported that without local access to treat blocked arteries, and the long transfer times for the treatment elsewhere, it means central Albertans have a 60 per cent higher rate of death or disability than people in Calgary or Edmonton.