As summer season gets underway, central Alberta’s regional hospital continues to divert emergency general surgery patients.
Alberta Health Services said 140 general surgery cases have been diverted as of 10 a.m. June 28 from Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre since the temporary diversion began on April 29 due to staffing and other issues.
Procedures include conditions like appendicitis, bowel resections, laparotomies, and gallbladder removals.
Depending on their condition, patients are diverted to other surgical sites in the Central Zone — including Camrose, Rocky Mountain House and Drumheller — or to facilities in Edmonton and Calgary.
Since April 29, a total of 313 general surgery cases (both urgent and scheduled) have also been completed at the site, and another three cases were scheduled for Tuesday, in addition to any emergency cases that should arise where transferring the patient would be unsafe.
On Tuesday, NDP Leader Rachel Notley joined two frontline nurses at the Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, which has also been forced to divert emergency surgeries to other hospitals multiple times in recent weeks.
“These surgical diversions are a symptom of an entire health system that is becoming increasingly sick. This is a major urban hospital that has been pushed to the limit and beyond to the point where it cannot deliver the basic functions of a hospital,” said Notley in a statement.
Notley noted that Health Minister Jason Copping is currently spending two weeks in Europe studying their healthcare systems.
“The Health Minister could learn a lot more about how to fix Alberta’s health care system by spending two weeks at the Rockyview Hospital, listening to exhausted frontline workers.”
She said there are currently 23 full and partially closed hospitals across Alberta, and the province’s 2021-22 fiscal report released on Tuesday reaffirms how the UCP government has cut hundreds of millions in health care funding and broken the trust of Albertans.
“The bottom line is the UCP is sabotaging public health care and they have done so over the past three years as a prelude to their plans to privatize. Alberta’s NDP is committed to protecting and strengthening the public system Alberta families rely on.”