The Royal Alexandra Hospital and the Misericordia Community Hospital are important and integral parts of the health system in Edmonton and Northern Alberta, providing care and treatment to hundreds of Albertans every day.
As we work hard to ensure we have the health system needed to meet the needs of patients and families well into the future, it has become increasingly apparent that both the Misericordia and the Royal Alex hospital campus need significant attention.
As a provider of health services, it is our responsibility to plan for the future health needs of Edmonton Zone residents and those referred here for health services. We do that in conjunction and partnership with the Government, stakeholders, communities, and Albertans.
It is similar in the way we care for our patients – we look at their past history, their current situation, and we put a plan in place for their health care needs into the future.
Every year, AHS sends Alberta Health and Alberta Infrastructure a Capital Submission list which identifies AHS’s top priority major capital projects. The Capital Submission provides advice to government to help inform funding decisions.
We then work closely with Government, and other stakeholders, as the process evolves.
AHS’ priority lists and recommendations are based on clinical needs and priorities in order to ensure the best quality health services are available in the most appropriate locations. Major health trends are also anticipated in the development of the list.
The projects are aimed at increasing access to health care services and health service efficiency, and replacing or upgrading essential building infrastructure.
The current list includes 24 capital projects from across the province, including other Edmonton projects. These projects range from major infrastructure upgrades with billion dollar price-tags that will be years in the making, and smaller improvements that can be done at a much lower cost and a much faster timeframe.
Some of the projects are urban, and some are rural. Some have been talked about for many years, and some are relatively new to the list.
The two largest projects on the list – and, the two projects likely to get the most media and public attention – are the proposed redevelopments of the Misericordia Community Hospital and the Royal Alexandra Hospital campus (including CapitalCare Norwood, and the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital).
The Royal Alex is the most expensive, and most expansive proposal. It stems from a wide-ranging master planning process that was completed late last year, which provides us with a comprehensive plan to address the ongoing and future program, service and infrastructure needs for the site over the next 16 years .
The Master Plan is the result of several months of engagement and discussions with staff, physicians, volunteers and external stakeholders. It outlines the infrastructure and service changes required at the RAH campus, using the Edmonton 2030 Plan as a foundational framework.
It also takes into account projected population growth and includes a Needs Assessment for the communities served by the RAH campus.
You can read more about the Royal Alexandra Hospital Campus Master Plan here: http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/Blogs/BTH/Posting265.aspx.
The Misericordia is second on the Capital Submission list – in terms of cost – but like the Royal Alex is important to the Edmonton Zone and the province. Together, the two projects are the top health care infrastructure priorities in Alberta.
Master Planning for the Misericordia Community Hospital campus is currently underway and will help guide decisions on the future of the facility. The Master Plan is expected to be complete in 2016.
Once complete, the Master Plan will help tell us what is needed at the site, including the full scope of the project, and what services/programs etc should be included at the redeveloped facility. We will work with Government and stakeholders, including Covenant Health, to ensure we provide the services and programs that the community – and Edmonton – needs.
However, our population projections suggest that a much larger hospital is needed to serve residents in west and south-west Edmonton.
The scope – and cost – of the Royal Alex and Misericordia projects is significant. The Royal Alex project is tagged at $4.4 to $5 billion; the Misericordia project has an estimated cost of between $2.4 to $2.7 billion.
It is important to remember that this money would be spent over a number of years. In the case of the Royal Alex, the project would be completed in four phases over about 16 years.
That said, we acknowledge that the two hospital projects are costly, and we understand the current economic challenges that Alberta is facing.
But we also know that we – along with Government and other stakeholders – must plan for the health care needs of the province – and this city – now and in the future.
It is also important to note that regardless of the Capital Submission, work continues to build, redevelop and improve health care infrastructure across the province. Currently, there are approximately 22 major health capital projects worth $2.6 billion underway across Alberta.
These are Alberta Infrastructure managed capital projects of new facilities or expansion of existing facilities (for example, a new Hospital in Grande Prairie, the new High Prairie Health Complex or expansion at Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge).
With the government’s fall budget announcement, $87 million has been set aside for infrastructure maintenance and renewal projects for 2015/16.
In addition, AHS has contingency emergency infrastructure funding to address any immediate infrastructure needs that arise unexpectedly and need immediate attention.
Work continues at the Misericordia and Royal Alex, as well.
Since 2010, more than $17 million has been, or is currently being spent, on critical infrastructure upgrades including major upgrades to cooling and gas systems, security upgrades, heliport upgrades, renovations to switchboard area, elevators and new data centre.
More than $15 million has been approved for renovations to existing space at the Royal Alex to create 16 beds for adult mental health and detox patients.
At the Misericordia, $6.7 million has been spent on hospital over the last three years on repairs to the central sterilizing room, replacing chillers, elevator upgrades and renovations to the laboratory. AHS plans to spend another $25 million in repairs and renovations to Misericordia over the next five years – $9.4 million will be spent on water damage remediation and renovation projects associated with flooding issues.
And, close to $10 million will be spent on upgrades to the electrical systems, emergency generators, elevator upgrades, nurse call systems, sanitary sewage and portable water systems.