Posted by Vi Hughes on Oct 04, 2018
This past Tuesday, October 2, we heard from Andrew Ottway, the President and CEO of the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation. The Royal Alex Hospital was founded n 1899 and although it has moved several times it has always been near the current location. The Foundation was started in 1984 and Andrew has been the President and CEO for the past twenty years.
The hospital serves the population of Alberta from Red Deer north and also includes northern BC and the Territories. With nine hundred beds, it served over five hundred thousand patients last year, it has the busiest emergency department in Alberta and also does the most surgeries of any hospital in Alberta. It has thirty-one operating rooms and does thirty thousand surgeries a year. It also does the most robotic assisted laparoscopic surgeries in Canada. One of their biggest challenges is finding post operative beds for these surgery patients, many of whom have complex health issues. There is also an issue with discharging these patients from the hospital as many people do not have appropriate home care to go to.
The Foundation firmly believes that building wellness begins in the community. As a province, we do not do a very good job of care prior to or after hospital admissions, especially for chronic disease. Better care for lower risk cases in the community would help to reduce the demand on our hospitals.
The Foundation is well aware that the Alex does not meet the standard of care in some ways, with only sixteen percent of its rooms being private. It still has many old four bed rooms, which in addition to their lack of privacy, can also result in higher infection rates.  The Alex has been at the top of the priority list for rebuilding since 1995, but every year since, it seems to get passed over. They do have a plan for rebuilding on-site and since the airport is now no longer an issue, the hospital can go up in height. There is a staged approach to the rebuild, which will have an estimated capital cost of about four billion dollars. This plan has been presented and they would like to see it move forward. He encouraged each of us to do what we can to advocate for this plan. The population of Alberta keeps increasing and is expected to hit six point eight million in another twenty years. There will always be a need for high tech/high risk cases, so there will always be a need for hospitals like the Alex.