Patients needing emergency surgery are being diverted from Calgary’s Rockyview General Hospital Tuesday night due to staffing shortages.
Alberta Health Services confirmed in an email to CBC News that since physician coverage could not be secured, patients requiring emergency surgery will be sent to one of the three other adult hospitals in the city, between 5 p.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m. Wednesday.
“There are no planned surgical postponements at Rockyview General Hospital and no impact to scheduled elective surgeries,” AHS spokesperson Kerry Williamson said in an emailed statement.
“For a period of 15 hours beginning at 5 p.m. on June 14 there will be no additional general surgical coverage at Rockyview to support emergency surgeries.”
Williamson said a general surgery staff surgeon would be on-call and available to provide advice and assessment of emergency situations at the Rockyview during this time.
“This is not unusual,” he said.
“It is routine for patients to be diverted to specific hospitals depending upon specific need and available resources.”
Alberta’s hospitals have been under increasing strain in recent months. The Alberta NDP is calling the situation “unacceptable.”
“This hospital is essential for emergency care in Calgary. People in need of emergency surgery require immediate critical care. Every moment counts. They should not be forced to travel to a different hospital across the city,” NDP health critic, David Shepherd, said in a news release Tuesday evening.
“This will also put more strain on other hospitals in the city that are already struggling to meet the needs of Albertans as a result of the UCP’s mismanagement of healthcare. Hospitals in Calgary are already facing higher demand with surgeries being diverted from Red Deer.”
The Red Deer Regional Hospital, which serves close to half a million people in Central Alberta, has had a general surgical diversion in place since April 29.
According to AHS, as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, a total of 111 general surgery cases had been diverted from the Red Deer Regional Hospital.
Williamson said during the same time period, 233 general surgeries — both urgent and scheduled — had been completed at the facility.