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New mental health, substance use beds at Royal Alex

Sixteen new beds to care for and treat adults struggling with mental health and substance use are opening at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

New mental health, substance use beds at Royal Alex

David Shepherd, MLA, Edmonton-Centre, Dr. Peter Florence, Site Chief, Psychiatry, RAH, Brandy Payne, Associate Minister of Health tour one of the psychiatric intensive care unit rooms.

The $15.3-million upgrade includes:

  • a new six-bed psychiatric intensive care unit on the sixth floor
  • a new six-bed complex medical detoxification unit
  • a four-bed safe observation and assessment area in the emergency department

“By expanding mental health and substance use services at the Royal Alex, we’re making sure patients and their families have better access to treatment. These are some of Edmonton’s most vulnerable patients and we want to make sure there are stronger supports available for these individuals and their families. This is one example of how our government is investing in upgrades to health-care facilities with our commitment to accessible, patient-focused, quality health-care delivery.”

Brandy Payne, Associate Minister of Health

Approximately 25 patients with substance use and mental health needs visit the emergency room at the Royal Alexandra Hospital daily, totalling more than 9,000 visits a year.

Before the new beds opened, the Royal Alexandra Hospital had 30 mental health and substance use inpatient beds. This 50 per cent increase in dedicated beds for patients affected by substance use and mental illness will support the care of an additional 2,300 admissions at the hospital each year.

“Now, more than ever, we need to provide Albertans affected by mental illness and addiction with the care and services they need.”

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services

“AHS will continue to improve access to mental health and substance use treatment services for Edmonton’s inner-city community, as well as for people in the greater Edmonton area, central and northern Alberta, by creating appropriate treatment spaces in hospitals and by linking patients to follow-up care in the community.”

Mark Snaterse, executive director of addiction and mental health, Alberta Health Services

The Alberta government continues to improve access to mental health services following the 2015 Valuing Mental Health review. Budget 2017 allocates $15 million to support the implementation of recommendations that came out of the review. Overall, Budget 2017 invests more than $80 million for mental health and substance use supports – a 64 per cent increase in funding over the previous year.  


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