Alberta now has 223 adult general ICU beds, a 29 per cent increase from before the pandemic. Alberta Health Services has opened the additional beds in every region with the support of a $300-million investment over three years from Budget 2022.
“Thank you to all the physicians, nurses and staff at Alberta hospitals who are saving lives and providing patients with the critical care they deserve. This historic investment in 50 new ICU beds is a big boost to Alberta’s health system and part of our promise to meaningfully increase capacity by adding more permanent beds, more staff and more resiliency for high-demand times.”
“Albertans now have more access to ICU care in communities across the province. We put a readiness plan in motion to add capacity and build a health system that would have flexibility to treat those who come into our hospitals, as well as to respond to surges and pressures caused by unforeseen events and any future health crisis.”
“AHS is grateful for this investment and our expanded critical care capacity will allow us to respond to demand and ensure Albertans are receiving the specialized care they need, when they need it.”
This work is part of the Alberta Health System Sustainability and Resiliency Action Plan, which outlines 21 capacity-building actions that are moving forward. The immediate priorities are surgical recovery and boosting ICU and acute care baseline capacity.
The 50 new ICU beds are available at 12 hospitals:
- Eighteen are in the Edmonton Zone – University of Alberta Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital and Sturgeon Community Hospital
- Thirteen are in the Calgary Zone – Foothills Medical Centre, Peter Lougheed Centre, Rockyview General Hospital and South Health Campus
- Eight are in the Central Zone – Red Deer Regional Hospital
- Six are in the South Zone – Chinook Regional Hospital
- Five are in the North Zone – Grande Prairie Regional Hospital and Northern Lights Regional Hospital
- Alberta Health Services began adding the new 50 ICU beds in April of this year and 19 were available by May.
- Alberta has had 173 general service ICU beds since 2016-17. The addition of 50 beds is the largest increase in ICU beds in a single year in Alberta.
- Budget 2022 allocated $100 million to support these beds this year and another $100 million each year over the next two years – $300 million over three years.
- Staff are available to support the 50 additional beds when needed. When the beds are not in use, staff will support other areas of the hospital. AHS has filled 355 positions, including nurses, allied health professionals and pharmacists, as well as clinical support service positions such as diagnostic imaging and service workers and continues to add more staff.
- Alberta has a higher number of full-time equivalent staff in hospitals per 100,000 population than the national average in areas such as ICU nursing units, emergency departments and operating rooms, based on a recent Canadian Institute for Health Information report.