PC government under fire again for state of Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital

EDMONTON – Flood damage, temperature fluctuations and partially repaired medical gas lines: these are just a few of the problems Alberta’s NDP says face staff and patients at Edmonton’s Misericordia hospital.

Built in the 1960s, the hospital has a number of maintenance problems, and the NDP says the PCs need to step up and build a replacement.

“It’s compromising the capacity for staff to do their jobs, for patients and for visitors alike,” said NDP health critic, David Eggen.

The NDP believes repairs simply aren’t enough, and that the building needs to be replaced. Eggen even went so far as to suggest the health minister is misleading Albertans about the state of the Misericordia.

“I asked if he was interacting with Covenant Health on this issue in terms of what they actually need for repairs, and he said, ‘no.'”

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The NDP has uncovered letters to Health Minister Fred Horne from Covenant Health, including one from last April, which says more than $33 million worth of repairs are needed over three years.

The health minister says he’s heard the concerns, and has even committed $19 million to bring the hospital up to par.

“What I’ve asked Covenant to do,” Horne said, “and this is quite recent, is I’ve said ‘over the next three to five years, what above and beyond the $19 million do you think you will need to keep the building in operational condition?'”

As far as an entirely new hospital, Horne says the ministry needs to look at the city as a whole.

“The question isn’t just about the Misericordia itself; the question is about ‘what do we really need over the next 10, 15, even 20 years to meet the needs of Edmonton and the Capital Region?'”

Eggen says there’s a need right now, and it’s time the government step up and solve the problem.

“This is one of the most utilized hospitals in Alberta. It’s often over capacity and the state of disrepair and the size problems with this hospital are making it more difficult to have good quality patient care.”

A $100 million replacement tower for the Misericordia was in the works in 2007, however that project was shelved when Alberta Health Services was formed in 2008.

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With files from Tom Vernon, Global News

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