Albertans deserve top quality health care when and where they need it. By expanding the services offered at the Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, patients in southern Alberta will have better access to health care closer to home, lessening the burden placed on other facilities in the region.

Budget 2023 provides $237 million over three years for operating room surgical initiatives. Alberta’s Government is also investing $11.2 million over the next three years to expand the renal dialysis program at the Chinook Regional Hospital, in addition to a $2 million investment through Alberta Health Services (AHS) to plan for expanded cardiac services at the Hospital.

“We are making important investments to reduce health care wait times and boost access to surgeries in Lethbridge and across the province. Budget 2023 will improve access to care at the Chinook Regional Hospital for patients with chronic kidney disease in need of life-saving dialysis and the expansion of the operating rooms will deliver more surgeries within the clinically recommended time for many more Albertans.”

Jason Copping, Minister of Health

Expanding and modernizing hospitals to provide quality health care, growing the system capacity, and supporting the best frontline health care workers in the world is a priority for Alberta’s government. The Chinook Regional Hospital expansion projects will provide more economic opportunities for Albertans while building stronger, healthier communities.

As a part of the Alberta Surgical Initiative, construction will soon begin on a redevelopment at the Chinook Regional Hospital that will modernize and double the existing surgical procedure capacity, as well as renovate the current medical device reprocessing area.

“It’s an honour to announce these critical projects for the Chinook Regional Hospital. Expanding operating space and surgical procedure capacity, addressing the overcapacity challenges for dialysis patients, and planning for future cardiac care programs will ensure people living in and around Lethbridge will have access to the care they need, close to home.”

Nathan Neudorf, Minister of Infrastructure

Schematic design—the first phase of the architectural design process—will begin this fall on the renovations for the renal dialysis area at the Chinook Regional Hospital. This project will help to increase capacity and reduce wait times for patients waiting for dialysis treatment.

Alberta Health Services will invest $2 million in 2023 to plan for expanded cardiac services at the Chinook Regional Hospital. These new cardiac services are part of a plan to provide an improved array of services for patients in the region. This strategic investment also delivers on the commitment made in the Health Care Action Plan to focus on the greatest needs of rural Albertans.

“Alberta Health Services is grateful for these upgrades to Chinook Regional Hospital and appreciates the funding being directly applied to resources, which will help reduce surgical wait times for Albertans and directly support patients who require complex and comprehensive care for their kidney disease. We know this means a great deal to our South Zone residents.” 

Mauro Chies, president and CEO, Alberta Health Services  

“This additional funding will directly support patients who require complex and comprehensive care for their chronic kidney disease as well as support our kidney care teams who are committed to providing the highest quality of care at every point in their patient’s journey.”

Jennifer Crysdale, executive director, Alberta Kidney Care - South (AKC-S) and Southern Alberta Transplant Program, Alberta Health Services 

Once complete, projects like these help to increase capacity within the health care system and ensure Albertans have access to the high quality care they need, when and where they need it.

Budget 2023 secures Alberta’s future by transforming the health-care system to meet people’s needs, supporting Albertans with the high cost of living, keeping our communities safe and driving the economy with more jobs, quality education and continued diversification.

Quick facts

  • Construction of the Alberta Surgical Initiative extension at the Chinook Regional Hospital is expected to be completed in the summer of 2024 and will support approximately 80 jobs in construction and the trades.

  • There are nine operating rooms currently at the Chinook Regional Hospital.

  • Once construction is complete, there will be one larger operating room and an additional room, as well as adding five new surgical inpatient rooms.

  • The renal dialysis project will create a new unit to address overcapacity in the existing unit by providing 28 hemodialysis stations plus two airborne isolation rooms, for a total of 30 stations, four examination rooms, five home dialysis training rooms/stations, a biotechnical room that will support nighttime dialysis, and additional space for family consultations, training, staff and supplies.

  • The design stage for the renal dialysis redevelopment at the Chinook Regional Hospital will begin in the fall of 2023.

  • Once fully operational, the new catheterization lab at Chinook Regional Hospital will allow 1,500 to 1,700 patients per year from southern Alberta to remain within their home community for cardiac catheterization services.

  • Future funding for this project is expected after the scope of the project is appropriately outlined through the planning process.