In February 2017 about 400 people attended public meetings in Red Deer to hear concerned doctors discuss the urgent need to expand the Red Deer Hospital. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer MLA confident cath lab is coming

Business case is the next step

Red Deer-South MLA Barb Miller is confident that Red Deer will get the cardiac catheterization lab it needs.

“I will not let this be pushed to the wayside. I am so committed to this and we deserve it. We’ve been ignored for too long and this is a service we need. We deserve it and it’s going to happen,” Miller said on Tuesday.

Last week an updated needs assessment for Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, and the Interventional Cardiac Services Needs Assessment and Options Analysis for the province, both supported enhancing cardiac services including cardiac catheterization.

But the reports did not say when services would be enhanced.

Miller said the next step is for Alberta Infrastructure to do a business case, which takes about a year to complete.

“That’s when they decide, going through the reports with a fine tooth comb, what is the best way to expand services for the needs of Central Alberta.”

One million dollars to compete the business case was included in the provincial budget in the spring. It was funding Miller said she advocated for in preparation for the completion of the preliminary needs assessment.

“We have to make sure it’s the right facility for Central Albertans and I’m confident they will come up with a design that suits Central Albertans for the long haul.”

Miller said the hospital favours an expansion in the form of a tower in parking space that was freed up when the hospital’s new parkade was built.

Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said the province heard the community’s call to strengthen cardiac services.

“That’s why we asked Alberta Health Services to work with local physicians and their clinical teams in developing a cardiac care road map as well as an overall health plan for the region. I understand it has been a collaborative effort between AHS, physicians and the community in developing these plans and we look forward to this continued collaboration as the needs assessment and business case are completed,” Hoffman said in a statement.

Miller said people have been telling her they’re happy as long as the project is moving forward.

“I won’t let them take it off the books. It was taken off once before and I will fight tooth and nail to keep it in the forefront,” the Red Deer MLA said.

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