The year 2020 actually started out as a good one for the health care system and patients in Red Deer.
On Feb. 26, Premier Jason Kenney committed $100 million toward improvements at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre as part of the first phase of improvements to the facility.
“Past governments have wasted time on half measures. This government of Alberta will get the job done,” said Kenney during a press conference at the hospital.
“This is phase one. We know that in the long term, there will be the need for additional resources for refurbishment and expansion. We hear that message.”
He said a $5-million commitment in 2020-21 would fund planning and consultation.
The community has been waiting for a cardiac catheterization lab, and Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the facility is definitely part of the first phase, but when it arrives, will have to be determined during the design process.
Mayor Tara Veer said hospital expansion was a longstanding infrastructure need for the community.
“The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre is one of the busiest hospitals in Alberta, and is the primary health service provider for our citizens, the regional population, and every Albertan travelling along the central QEII corridor,” Veer said.
“The lives, health and well-being of our loved ones matter most of all, and this vital investment and expansion will help ensure access to crucial health services and improved health outcomes the people of Red Deer and central Alberta critically need.”
In September, AHS said planning was progressing after a three-month delay due to COVID-19, and construction was expected to begin in fall 2021.
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.