Hospital capacity urgently needs to be addressed

MLA Devin Dreeshen. File photo

MLA Devin Dreeshen. File photo

We have a problem with hospital capacity. It has been a problem for a long time, but it was a problem that governments felt could be contained and ignored. When COVID hit, we couldn’t ignore it anymore. Central Alberta has grown a lot. We have the third-largest city in Alberta and our rural communities have led the province in population growth. However, the ability to care for the health of our residents has not grown. According to the Society for Hospital Expansion in Central Alberta, between 2008 and 2018 Central Alberta received only $228 per person in hospital infrastructure investment. This compares to $2086 in the North, $1,633 in Calgary, $1,513 in the South, and $1,118 in Edmonton. This just doesn’t add up. I was proud to help keep a promise and deliver on something repeatedly delayed by the NDP: a $100-million expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital, including a new cardiac catheterization lab. But that funding is just barely catching up. We need more hospital capacity in Central Alberta. We need to start planning and putting shovels in the ground to build beyond this now so that years from now the system isn’t again on the edge of failure. That is what I want to see from the Alberta government as we move past COVID and begin rebuilding after the past two years.

-MLA Devin Dreeshen