Alberta Health Services has excluded Red Deer Regional Hospital from their newly-released list of upcoming capital projects.
“Yesterday, Alberta Health Services released their 2017 Urgent Priority List,” said Dr. Keith Wolstenholme, a City physician who is part of the group Diagnosis Critical – Your Central Alberta Regional Hospital which has been working to raise awareness about the severe service shortages at the hospital.
“That was to include capital projects that they have made a priority, and essentially they give that document to government. The government picks from that document what projects they are going to fund.”
Last February, a rally was held in response to the 2016 document which had dropped Red Deer off the list.
“In 2014, we were third on that list, in 2015 we were still on the list. Then we were dropped in 2016 and very disappointedly, we are once again not on the list in 2017,” he said.
“Despite all of the hard work we have done trying to put awareness on this issue, and all of the people who showed up at the two rallies and who have written letters and sent emails – unfortunately we are not on the list.”
As mentioned, the first meeting held last March where audiences heard that the Red Deer Regional Hospital had been massively short-changed over the years funding-wise from the province in terms of being able to keep up with local population growth and service demand.
Organizers have pointed out repeatedly that the lack of health care infrastructure spending that Central Alberta has received over the past many years has led to extremely serious consequences for health care in Central Alberta.
Another issue is that the City’s hospital doesn’t have a cardiac catheter lab and other cardiac supports, meaning that Central Albertans were ultimately 60% more likely to die from heart attacks then patients in Calgary or Edmonton.
This kind of limited care in cardiac services is just one way the Red Deer Hospital has fallen so far behind over the years, physicians have noted.
The hospital is badly in need of an increase in capacity overall. The group has shown that the Red Deer Regional Hospital is consistently amongst the top five busiest hospitals in Alberta and serves 450,000 to 500,000 Central Albertans as the only referral centre in the zone.
This is a breaking story with more to come.
“It’s extremely disappointing. As a taxpayer myself and as someone who looks after the health of Central Albertans, it’s very disheartending. It’s frustrating and demoralizing to be honest.”
For more information, find the group on facebook at ‘Diagnosis Critical – Your Central Alberta Regional Hospital’.