Budget 2022: Increasing health-care capacity, surgeries
Budget 2022 commits a total of $3.5 billion for health facilities, equipment and IT systems to expand health-care capacity for Albertans no matter where they live and create thousands of good-paying jobs.
This includes $133 million over three years to upgrade and expand hospital operating rooms and departments as part of the Alberta government’s commitment to provide every Albertan the surgery they need within clinically recommended wait times. A $63.5-million project at the Foothills Medical Centre – with $35 million in new funding included in Budget 2022 – is adding 11 new operating rooms and 17 additional recovery beds to the Calgary hospital.
Other new funding will go towards redeveloping and expanding the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, a maternity centre in La Crete, more recovery communities, spaces in continuing care and expanded surgical suites in hospitals across Alberta.
“Budget 2022 is strengthening health care across the province and investing in expanded health-care infrastructure where it’s needed. Projects across Alberta are expanding health-care capacity, increasing access to surgeries, mental health and addiction services and continuing care spaces, among many other government priorities. We are building a healthier future for all Albertans with Alberta’s Recovery Plan.”
Jason Kenney, Premier
“These health projects are moving forward to ensure people in urban and rural communities across Alberta have access to the best, most modern services our health system can offer. This includes building better and faster access to surgeries for people in and around Calgary and southern Alberta by adding 11 new operating rooms at the Foothills hospital. The Foothills surgical expansion is just one part of our aggressive plan to expand surgical capacity in hospitals and chartered surgical facilities across Alberta.”
Jason Copping, Minister of Health
“Health infrastructure projects are part of our province’s economic recovery as we build Alberta and strengthen the health-care system for future generations. The Foothills project will create hundreds of well-paying jobs and complete the hospital’s original vision.”
Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure
Currently, surgical teams at the Foothills hospital perform more than 21,500 surgeries each year in the hospital’s 32 operating rooms, which are running at full capacity. Once construction is complete, the 11 additional operating rooms will provide up to 7,000 more surgeries each year, including cancer, spine and cardiac surgeries, where the need is greatest.
“We are working to make sure patients receive the surgeries they need more quickly. New operating rooms will have a significant impact on achieving that goal. We are grateful for this support from government and for the patience of all Albertans who had their surgeries delayed during the pandemic.”
Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO, Alberta Health Services
Upgrades to the Foothills hospital will allow surgeons to focus on more complex surgeries and surgeries with long wait-lists. Foothills performs the majority of cancer surgeries in Calgary, as it is connected with the current and new Calgary Cancer Centre. Low-risk surgeries will be moved out of the Foothills hospital and offered in Canmore, High River and chartered surgical facilities in Calgary.
Design work on the Foothills operating room project is underway. A construction start date is still being determined, with completion expected in late 2025.
Budget 2022 moves Alberta forward towards personal and economic prosperity by building capacity in our health-care system, developing the talents and skills of our workforce and providing opportunities for all Albertans to succeed and thrive.
Budget 2022’s Capital Plan provides $3.5 billion over three years for health facilities, equipment and IT systems, providing:
$2.2 billion for new and ongoing health-care projects and programs, including:
$371 million over three years for the new Edmonton hospital.
$193 million over three years towards a $1.8-billion investment to increase critical services and add capacity at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.
$46 million over three years towards a $79-million total project cost to integrate ambulatory care, primary care, maternal health care and diagnostic services at the La Crete Maternity and Community Health Centre.
$332 million over two years to complete the Calgary Cancer Centre, with 160 new in-patient cancer care beds.
$99 million to add 30 treatment spaces in the emergency department of the Peter Lougheed Centre and 12 beds in a mental health intensive care unit.
$133 million over three years for the Alberta Surgical Initiative Capital Program to increase surgical capacity at AHS-owned facilities to help ensure patients receive their required surgeries within clinically recommended timelines.
This program has added two operating rooms at the new Grande Prairie Regional Hospital.
A new procedure room also opened at the Edson Healthcare Centre.
Planning and design continues on projects to expand or add new operating room capacity in hospitals in Edmonton, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Rocky Mountain House.
The government and AHS continue to work on having all these renovations and expansions complete in 2025.
$50 million over three years to begin construction of the neurosciences intensive care unit at the University of Alberta Hospital Brain Centre, increasing neuro ICU capacity to 24 spaces from 11 and adding 18 new in-patient beds at the U of A hospital.
$36 million for the Recovery Communities Stream 2 projects, including a new facility with 75 spaces on the Blood Tribe Reserve.
$204 million over three years to modernize continuing care facilities across the province and develop new spaces in priority communities.
$474 million for capital maintenance and renewal of existing health-care facilities.
$87 million for health department IT projects.
$758 million for Alberta Health Services self-financed initiatives, such as parkades and equipment.
UCP BUDGET FALLS SHORT FOR CALGARY’S STRUGGLING ECONOMY
CALGARY – The UCP’s budget falls short of what is needed to support Calgary’s struggling economy as it continues to face high unemployment and downtown office vacancies.
Despite high oil prices, Calgary’s unemployment rate is the highest among major Canadian cities and roughly a third of office space still sits empty.
“Calgarians continue to struggle to make ends meet as they face the rising cost of living combined with high rates of unemployment. Unfortunately, the UCP failed to present a plan for jobs or economic diversification in yesterday’s budget,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “This is a missed opportunity and a complete failure on the part of the UCP.”
In Thursday’s budget, the UCP committed only $5 million toward the revitalization of downtown Calgary – an amount the CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce Deborah Yedlin called “absolutely inadequate” and only two per cent of the amount requested by the City.
The government also failed to reintroduce the Alberta Investor Tax Credit and Interactive Digital Media Tax credit despite calls from the tech sector to do so in order to restore competitiveness as Calgary struggles to keep pace on tech investment with other Canadian cities.
Last year, Toronto attracted $5.5 billion in tech investment – a 400 per cent year-over-year increase. Meanwhile, Calgary saw a seven per cent increase, totalling $322 million.
Instead of providing more support to Calgary’s downtown and tax credits for the tech sector, the UCP pointed to their corporate tax cut and claimed it was working.
However, data released Friday by Statistics Canada shows that investment in the province is still well behind levels under the NDP government. Overall investment was $54 billion in 2021 compared to $62 billion in 2018.
In a speech to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 15, Notley promised to provide $100 million in direct funding for office conversions, grants for small businesses, and the creation of an innovation district to support economic diversification.
“We will unlock the economic potential of our post-secondary institutions while providing Albertans with the skills we need to grow the economy, support emerging industries, and create good, mortgage paying jobs.
“We need to keep our brightest minds learning right here, at places like the University of Calgary. We will play an active role in supporting the goals of Calgarians, as we always have. I want Calgary to be a beacon to Canadians and people all over the world.”