The Alberta government announced Wednesday Airdrie will have improved access to urgent care by early 2017, after years of residents expressing concerns over a lack of overnight resources.
Currently the urgent care centre in Airdrie operates from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The nearest 24/7 hospital is 30 kilometres away in Calgary or 50 kilometres away in Didsbury.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said the increased hours should be helpful in serving residents of Airdrie during hours the current urgent care facility is not open. Hoffman said statistics show 4,000 people were forced to seek treatment in Calgary last year during hours the current facility in Airdrie was closed.
Wildrose Airdrie MLA Angela Pitt said as one of the fastest-growing cities in the province, the area has “long deserved” 24-hour medical care.
“However, the current facility remains unable to provide the full spectrum of health care needs that our community requires,” Pitt said in a statement. “I will continue to advocate for a new upgraded emergency facility and will encourage the government to move in this direction.”
Michelle Bates is one such resident who began advocating for 24/7 care in Airdrie after she lost her five-year-old son Lane in 2009. Lane had been fighting a cold when he took a turn for the worse. The urgent care facility in Airdrie was closed when his condition started to deteriorate and Bates decided to wait to see her family doctor in the morning rather than try to get into an overcrowded hospital out of town.
Bates said Airdrie services an area of over 100,000 people and hopes this announcement will prevent other families from going through what her family did.