Alberta spending $100M to renovate, build new operating rooms to reduce surgery wait times
In this file photo, doctors perform an open heart surgery in San Salvador on Thursday, July 3, 2008. (AP / Luis Romero)
EDMONTON -- The UCP's plan to reduce growing surgery wait times in Alberta is centered around renovating and building operating rooms across the province.
The government will spend $100 million to build some new operating rooms and renovate others in Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie and Lethbridge.
"This funding from Budget 2020 will drive down wait times with necessary and overdue upgrades to hospital operating rooms and equipment across the province," Premier Jason Kenney said.
"This $100 million for capital projects will have a cascading effect, improving access to surgeries in big city hospitals, but also in rural communities across the province, so people can get care closer to home," Health Minister Tyler Shandro said.
In Edmonton, the funds will be used to build a new operating room and renovate four existing ones at the University of Alberta Hospital, and renovate the existing operating rooms at the surgical department at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
The province also said lower risk procedures would be moved to the Fort Saskatchewan Health Centre, the Grey nuns Community Hospital and the Sturgeon Community Hospital in St. Albert.
The Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary is slated to receive upgrades to 12 operating rooms. Low-risk surgeries will be moved to Canmore, High River and other independent surgical facilities.
Other projects include a fit-out of an operating room in Grande Prairie, converting space in the Edson Health Centre into a second operating room, combining two smaller operating rooms into a larger surgery room at the Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, and renovations at the Rocky Mountain House Health Centre and Medicine Hat Regional Hospital.
Currently there are about 293,000 surgeries in Alberta every year. The province wants to perform an extra 80,000 surgeries over the next three years with the help of independent providers as part of Alberta Health Services' new Alberta Surgical Wait-Times Initiative.