Alberta Health Services says Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre (RDRHC) diverted all non-emergency surgery patients to Edmonton and Calgary this weekend.
According to AHS, nine patients were transported to Alberta’s largest cities to “reduce patient wait time” this weekend, in addition to diverting “some” additional non-emergency patients to other facilities in the Central Zone, like Olds Hospital and Care Centre.
“The site is experiencing higher than normal number of patients needing surgery,” the health authority told CTV News Edmonton in a statement.
“There are also some ongoing OR position vacancies that have impacted the number of procedures able to be performed.”
All emergency medical procedures are still being handled at Re Deer Regional Hospital, AHS said.
“AHS continues to closely monitor the situation and divert patients as necessary, when it is safe to do so,” the agency added. “AHS continues to actively recruit additional OR staffing to support increased surgical volumes at RDRHC, as well as providing additional in-house training for staff through an OR training program developed at the site.
“Provincially, efforts continue to increase surgical volumes and return to pre-pandemic numbers to help ensure Albertans who require surgery receive it within clinically appropriate timelines.”
AHS says this is the first time it has needed to divert surgical patients from Red Deer hospital.
Pre-pandemic, Alberta’s surgery waitlist was approximately 68,000 procedures, Alberta Health says. During the first wave of the pandemic, that number surged to 77,000, retreated to 68,000 during the second and third waves.
The province says at least 15,000 surgeries were cancelled due to the impact of the fourth wave on the health care system. The total surgery backlog is around 81,600.