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New hospital needed in Edmonton; calls to scale back Royal Alex, Misericordia: AHS

Click to play video 'Edmonton needs a new hospital: Alberta Health Services' Edmonton needs a new hospital: Alberta Health Services
WATCH ABOVE: Alberta Health Services says Edmonton needs a new hospital and if we don't get one soon our existing facilities won't be able to keep up with demand. Quinn Ohler reports – Oct 26, 2016

A new report from Alberta Health Services says a new hospital is needed in Edmonton to meet future demand.

The 2016 Multi-Year Facility Infrastructure Capital Submission lists a new Edmonton Health Campus, which would include inpatient beds, emergency care, rehabilitation, mental health diagnostic and ambulatory services.

It may also include continuing care and community support programs.

READ MORE: Alberta ministers say new infrastructure funds go to ‘needs assessments’ for Royal Alex, Misericordia

“As much as we try and move patients into the community, there is still a need for acute care,” Dr. David Mador, AHS vice president and medical director for Northern Alberta, said.

“There is a gap in the planning out 15 years in Edmonton and we believe, and the report recommended, the development of a new hospital and health campus.”

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“Our acute care system is working to capacity; we seem to be keeping up. The question is, in 15 years, where will we be?”

The report, which lists priority projects for AHS, said a new facility would meet demand better than other projects currently in the works.

READ MORE: Infrastructure problems present in almost every Edmonton health facility: report

“The need for significant redevelopment/modernization at the existing major centres, plus the addition of a new major health campus to meet the need of the Edmonton Zone and larger catchment area going forward,” the report reads.

“The most critical risks of non-approval are patient safety and patient and community satisfaction as a result of continued use of aging facilities and the inability to meet current and future service demands.”

There is no cost estimate for the project and no location within Edmonton has been chosen.

Flooding at Misericordia hospital May 3, 2013
Flooding at Misericordia hospital May 3, 2013. File/Global News

The report also recommends scaling back upgrades to the Royal Alexandra Hospital and Misericordia Community Hospital, both of which have previously been identified as being in need of renovations and repairs.

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READ MORE: Surgeries cancelled, patients moved after burst pipe floods Misericordia Hospital

Mador attributes this decision to Alberta’s current economic climate.

“Because of the fiscal situation in Alberta, we have to approach those two projects carefully because they are complex and they are very expensive,” he said.

“Our approach right now is to try to phase in the Royal Alex Hospital project, which will take many years. Because of the need to keep the Misericordia functioning, we are going to invest in that hospital in terms of not only just the mechanical part of the hospital but modernizing the inside of the hospital up to modern standards for our patients.”

Earlier this month the emergency room at the Royal Alex reopened following a $3.85 million expansion.

In March 2015, the then-Tory government committed $3.4 billion towards improving hospitals in Edmonton and northern Alberta, but at that time there were no plans to replace any of the city’s aging hospitals.

READ MORE: Province announces $3.4B in renos and upgrades, but no new hospitals for Edmonton region

The Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. April 21, 2015. Vinesh Pratap, Global News

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