Once the new hospital opens to the public later this year, a total of 11 operating rooms will allow the region to schedule 3,000 to 4,000 more surgeries each year. Increasing the surgical volume will help drive down wait times for procedures such as hip, knee or cataract surgeries.

The operating rooms were built and outfitted with $20 million of the $120 million committed by Alberta’s government over the next three years to upgrade and expand hospital operating rooms and surgical suites across the province as part of the Alberta Surgical Initiative.

“This project is part of our commitment to ensure all Albertans – including those in northern and more remote parts of the province – have their surgeries within wait times recommended by medical experts. We are so close to throwing open the doors of the new Grande Prairie Regional Hospital and I can’t wait to see how well it will serve people and families in the area.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“This project adds even more capacity to deliver surgeries and complex and state-of-the-art care to families and individuals in and around Grande Prairie. All of us eagerly await the grand opening of our new hospital.”

Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, and MLA for Grande Prairie-Wapiti

“More operating rooms in this modern hospital will improve access to surgeries and other quality health-care services throughout our region for years to come. This investment will serve the great people of Grande Prairie and area, providing more access to services locally.”

Tracy Allard, MLA for Grande Prairie

Alberta Infrastructure began work on the two new operating rooms in summer 2020. Construction is expected to be complete at the end of July, and the space will be turned over to Alberta Health Services as part of the commissioning of the entire hospital.

“These additional two operating suites bring the total number of ORs at the new hospital to 11, including a dedicated obstetrics OR in the maternity unit. This represents five more operating suites than what is currently available in our community, meeting the needs of the region’s residents and reducing wait times for surgeries, including hip and knee replacements. The Alberta Surgical Initiative helps us to provide the best care possible in a timely fashion and we’re happy to be part of it.”

Stacy Greening, senior operating officer for Grande Prairie, Alberta Health Services

The two additional operating rooms will focus on surgeries with the longest wait times, including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgeries, surgeries for kidney stones, bladder and prostate tumours, bowel and hernia surgeries. Bariatric surgeries and breast reconstruction surgeries will also be scheduled.

“We are grateful to be able to further increase surgical capacity in Grande Prairie, thereby reducing wait times for patients throughout the region. Completing this work prior to opening the new facility means less disruption for our health-care teams, ultimately helping us to provide the best possible care to our patients.”

Dr. Brian Muir, zone medical director, North Zone, Alberta Health Services

“While waiting for his knee replacement surgery, my husband wasn’t able to do much, relying on others to help him get around. Now, Johnny has regained his independence. He’s back to work operating heavy equipment and is able to do most of the things he used to. We are so grateful for the wonderful care we’ve received at the QEII. Shorter wait times will mean improved quality of life for many other patients and families like ours.”

Denise Morgan, wife of knee replacement patient, Grande Prairie

In April and May 2021, about 600 scheduled surgeries were postponed at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Grande Prairie due to high pandemic case numbers. Surgeries are being rescheduled with plans to eliminate the surgical backlog in the region in the next year.

A new 28-bed mental health unit and an additional 32-bed acute care unit are also in the final stages of construction at the hospital and should be complete later this summer.

Quick facts

  • Budget 2021 provides $120 million over three years for the Alberta Surgical Initiative Capital Program.
  • This project brings the total number of operating rooms in the hospital to 11, including a dedicated obstetrics operating room in the maternity unit.
  • About 14,000 to 15,000 surgeries will be performed each year in Grande Prairie in the new operating rooms, compared with about 11,000 surgeries performed each year in the six operating rooms at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital.
  • Renovations, upgrades, expansions and changes are being planned or are underway in many hospital operating departments, including in Calgary, Edmonton, Edson, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Rocky Mountain House.
  • Construction of the new Grande Prairie Regional Hospital was largely complete in June 2020, when the facility was turned over to Alberta Health Services to start the work of getting it ready for patients and staff. This includes detailed cleaning, installation of furniture and equipment, training staff to use the equipment – including in the state-of-the-art cancer centre – and a thorough testing of all the systems.