The Alberta government is investing to ensure that a greater number of Albertans receive necessary surgeries within clinically recommended wait times.

To guarantee that more Albertans obtain the necessary procedures more quickly, the government launched the Alberta Surgical Initiative in 2019. Due to this initiative, Alberta is expected to complete more surgeries this year compared to previous years, by combining procedures from publicly supported chartered surgical facilities and Alberta Health Services (AHS).

"Alberta’s government and AHS are continuing their work to increase the number of surgeries completed across the province while reducing the surgical backlog and increasing capacity. The initiative focuses on improving each patient’s surgical journey from the time they initially seek advice to when they are referred to a specialist and undergo surgery and rehabilitation," stated a provincial press release.

If approved, Budget 2024 would allocate $618 million toward specific spending aimed at enhancing accessibility to surgical procedures and the acute care hospitals that conduct them.

“Albertans should have access to health care when and where they need it. The Alberta Surgical Initiative is empowering health care providers to complete more surgeries while improving wait times," stated Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health. "We are working closely with Alberta Health Services to address the existing backlog and introducing new funding to ensure the necessary facilities are in place to deliver timely care to Albertans.”

To carry out 310,000 surgical procedures this year, Alberta Health Services is being given a total of $305 million, an increase of nearly 6 per cent from 2022–2023. This will free up operating rooms in hospitals to perform more complex surgeries, with an estimated 60,000–65,000 of these procedures to be performed by publicly supported chartered surgical centres.

Budget 2024 also includes $313 million over three years for the Alberta Surgical Initiative Capital Program, which would add and expand operating rooms across the province, one being in Olds.

“By delivering Alberta Surgical Initiative projects in communities throughout the province, we are increasing surgical capacity, shortening surgical wait times and ensuring Albertans can get the treatment they need closer to home. This is not just an investment in our health care system, this will also support thousands of construction-related jobs across our province,” stated Airdrie Cochrane MLA and Minister of Infrastructure Pete Guthrie.

 Budget 2024 would also provide $4.4 billion in operating expense funding for acute care in 2024-25, an increase of $60 million from  2023-24. 

As of March 17, there have been 293,150 procedures performed in the province in 2023–24, up from 292,500 in 2022–23.

In February, it was announced Airdrie's Community Health Centre renovations would restart earlier this month.

The City of Airdrie statistics show that Airdrie's Urgent Care Centre sees upwards of 46,000 patients per year, reporting an average of 139 patients per day.

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