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Planning together for a healthier future

October 3, 2018

Community physician voices helping shape healthcare services in central Alberta

RED DEER – Alberta Health Services (AHS) released two reports today which were developed by AHS in collaboration with local community members, physicians, patients and their families, and the Government of Alberta.

The Central Zone Healthcare Plan is a report which captures the current state of healthcare in central Alberta, explains why change is needed and provides a blueprint to guide the system forward five, 10 and 15 years into the future. It is the result of multiple engagement sessions AHS has had with local stakeholders, beginning in fall, 2016.

“By working together, we can explore new, innovative ways of delivering care and preventing illness and injury,” says Kerry Bales, Chief Operating Officer, AHS Central Zone. “We know that we have to look at healthcare differently in order to improve quality and safety, while at the same time, ensuring publicly funded healthcare remains sustainable for future generations.”

The Central Zone Healthcare Plan promotes wellness, improves how services work together, and provides direction for current and future health services, specifically for residents of Central Zone. The goal, says Bales, is to keep central Albertans healthy and out of hospital.

“And, when they do need hospital services, we want to help people get back home sooner and receive ongoing support from a wide range of community-based services,” he says.

The Interventional Cardiac Services Needs Assessment and Options Analysis focuses on cardiac care needs across the province. While provincial in nature, this report complements elements of the Central Zone Healthcare Plan and other local planning efforts, and sets the foundation for enhanced cardiac care services in Red Deer.

Local AHS leadership has and continues to work with staff, physicians and community health partners to identify opportunities to expand and enhance services at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre (RDRHC) by updating the hospital’s 2015 Capital Needs Assessment.

This work captures the current demands on the site, the potential for service growth and shifting appropriate services to the community. By using the latest data and projections in service planning as well as new models of care, the updated needs assessment identifies areas of highest need and priority at RDRHC, which will help guide future redevelopment at the site.

Both the updated needs assessment and the Interventional Cardiac Services Needs Assessment and Options Analysis make recommendations regarding enhancements to cardiac services in Red Deer, including cardiac catheterization.

“A cardiac catheterization lab in Red Deer would reduce the need for some patients to be transported to Calgary or Edmonton to receive that care,” says Dr. Daniel Edgcumbe, Central Zone Medical Director.

“Establishing such a service is a complex process that requires supporting infrastructure including physical space, bed capacity, community supports and the development of new clinical pathways.

“We are committed to working with Government, physicians and staff in Red Deer to put these foundational elements in place to move toward making this service available, as part of a comprehensive strategy for improving heart health throughout central Alberta.”

The Government of Alberta’s Budget 2018 included $1 million for “Red Deer Health Capital Planning.” These funds are being used to advance the business case for redevelopment at the hospital, which will provide more detail and costs of the required infrastructure needs.

Completion of this business case is the first step towards planning for redevelopment, and AHS is now working with Alberta Infrastructure on a business case for RDRHC, which is welcome news for local physicians.

"We believe our voices and those of our community have been heard and that the right steps are being taken to enhance care in Red Deer. There is still much work to be done, but Government's investment in developing a business case is a critical and necessary part of planning,” says Dr. Kym Jim, speaking on behalf of Red Deer cardiologists. “We look forward to continued collaboration with local AHS leadership as we help to shape the future of healthcare services in not only Red Deer, but across the Central Zone.

“We eagerly await hearing from AHS and Government as to their timeline for the delivery of enhanced cardiac care and cardiac catheterization to Central Alberta.”

Release of the Central Zone Healthcare Plan and the work towards realizing cardiac catheterization in Red Deer is encouraging for community partners, says Robert Bilton, Chair of the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation Board.

“I'm encouraged to see progress regarding the Central Zone Healthcare Plan,” says Bilton. "Community members, our physicians and members of our Board have all provided input into AHS' Central Zone Healthcare plan, along with hundreds of others across central Alberta.

“In the near future our healthcare system requires change, change in ways that our collective voices have helped shape. That type of collaboration and transparent planning is what will help us realize the required critical and imminent expansion of services, including a cardiac cath lab, here in Red Deer."

More information on both the Central Zone Healthcare Plan and the Interventional Cardiac Services Needs Assessment and Options Analysis is available online, ahs.ca/CentralZoneHCP.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

For media inquiries, contact:

Heather Kipling
AHS Communications
403-356-4206