Alberta Health Services has opened and staffed 19 of 50 permanent intensive care unit (ICU) beds supported by $100 million this year from Budget 2022. The remaining 31 beds are expected to open by the end of September.
“We promised to build a stronger health-care system for Albertans and we are delivering on that promise. More ICU beds will bring peace of mind to care teams and will give doctors and nurses the space and capacity to surge care up and down, depending on demand. Our historic investment in health care is building a sustainable health-care system for today and tomorrow.”
“We are moving fast and diligently to add permanent ICU beds where they are most needed. This is outstanding work by AHS to add nurses and medical staff to support these beds that give Albertans access to critical, acute health care when they need it. COVID-19 is still putting pressure on Alberta hospitals, but we’re countering that with a bold plan to ensure our health system is resilient and can respond to any health crisis.”
“AHS is grateful for this investment and proud of the progress our teams have made to plan, staff and open these much-needed resources. These new beds and staff will allow AHS to respond to increased demand and support our goal to deliver high-quality, accessible health-care services to all Albertans while achieving the greatest value for every health-care dollar spent.”
With the opening of the new beds, Alberta now has 192 adult general ICU beds across the province, up from 173 before the pandemic. With $300 million over three years, AHS will boost its ICU capacity to 223 beds across all AHS zones.
Of the 19 new beds added:
- five are in the Foothills Medical Centre (Calgary)
- two are in Rockyview General Hospital (Calgary)
- two are in South Health Campus (Calgary)
- three are in the University of Alberta Hospital (Edmonton)
- two are in the Royal Alexandra Hospital (Edmonton)
- one is in the Sturgeon Community Hospital (St. Albert)
- two are in the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital
- two are in the Chinook Regional Hospital (Lethbridge)
To date, AHS has filled 250 positions to support the new beds, including nurses, allied health professionals and pharmacists, as well as clinical support service positions such as diagnostic imaging and service workers. AHS plans to recruit to fill another 425 clinical and support service positions to support the total bed numbers.
When the beds are not in use, staff will support other areas of the hospital, offering greater flexibility and overall capacity to the broader health system.
The work is part of a Sustainability and Resiliency Action Plan to ensure the health system can respond quickly and proactively to future waves of the pandemic or other health emergencies. The plan incorporates leading practice and lessons learned from other Canadian and international health systems.