Prescription for growth

Alberta communities getting a slew of new or expanded hospitals and health-care centres

Like other Alberta communities, Grande Prairie has experienced rapid growth over the past decade, making it one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada.

And like other communities, Grande Prairie has faced the challenges resulting from growth. Among them is the need for new and expanded hospitals.

But relief is on the way.

A new regional hospital and cancer centre in Grande Prairie will help more of Alberta's northern patients receive specialized and complex care, closer to home and with shorter wait times.

Expected to be finished in 2017, the $621.4-million hospital being built by Graham Construction is one of several hospitals or health-care centres throughout Alberta under construction.

Some background: three years ago, the provincial government announced its 2010-13 Health Capital Plan. The plan is comprised of two phases. The first phase will see the construction of 22 projects worth $1.4 billion 
in 15 communities. The second phase will see the implementation of a new cancer infrastructure plan that will provide $1.3 billion for 16 projects in Calgary and Edmonton.

Grande Prairie's hospital is part of the first phase. The new hospital will have:

  • Two hundred in-patient beds, including medical, surgical and rehabilitation, intensive care, cardiac care, neonatal intensive care, pediatric and mental health beds.
  • Roughed-in space for an additional 32 beds, should they be required in the future.
  • In emergency department that is designed as the primary emergency facility for the Grande Prairie region, supplemented by the urgent care ser­vices that will be provided at the existing Queen Elizabeth II Hospital.
  • Nine operating rooms, with the ability to expand to 10.
  • A cancer centre that will bring radiation therapy services to the community.
  • An obstetrics department with space for an anticipated 2,150 annual births in the region by 2025.
  • Diagnostic imaging, including an MRI and future expansion capability.
  • Mental health, respiratory therapy, laboratory and pharmacy services.

Minister of Infrastructure Wayne Drysdale says: "Our government is committed to improving Albertans' access to needed health services by building quality facilities that will meet the changing health needs of our growing communities for years to come."

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