A group of doctors in Red Deer is trying to bring better healthcare closer to home.
On Tuesday, they launched the Demand Care campaign, which is calling for improvements to the Red Deer Regional Hospital.
The group said through the FOIP Act, it received data on infrastructure funding levels between 2008 and 2018 for projects in the healthcare system over $5 million.
The doctors said the numbers show during the 10-year period, Calgary received $2.5 billion, Edmonton $1.4 billion and central Alberta $107 million for healthcare infrastructure.
“$228 per person versus an average of for the rest of the province of $2,299 per person; that is a factor of 9.6 times; that is 1,000 per cent. It’s really unbelievable,” Dr. Kym Jim said
“Not only is this unfair — how this occurred is about as opaque as it gets.”
The Red Deer Regional Hospital is over capacity and several days a week the facility is in “over capacity protocol,” which means some patients are moved out so other patients who are in more serious condition can get access to a bed, the doctors said.
“We find this overall very troubling, and it’s troubling because the Red Deer Regional Hospital is by far the busiest hospital outside of Edmonton and Calgary,” Jim said.
“It is by far the most acute hospital outside of Edmonton and Calgary, meaning that this hospital deals with the sickest patients.”
In 2015, Alberta Health Services conducted a needs assessment which found 96 in-patient beds, 18 emergency room beds and three new operating rooms were needed at the hospital.
In February, Premier Rachel Notley said she was committed to funding a hospital expansion in Red Deer but no firm details have been released.
“Talk is cheap from politicians,” radiologist Dr. Alan Poole said.
“They can make announcements, but actual processes where they commit funding and see that funding is actually being spent has not happened.”
The doctors are calling on the release of a needs assessment that shows how much work is required to the hospital.
“I can understand their frustration because I understand the Red Deer hospital was taken off the priority list which is kind of peculiar,” United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney said.
“We will be proposing an infrastructure plan for Alberta that gets the politics out of it and that ranks the priorities based on objective data.”
The group is planning to host a number of town hall meetings to keep the issue front of mind for politicians.