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AHS closing cancer, acute care, palliative care beds, as well as ERs

This marks two months of repeated closures in multiple communities, primarily in rural Alberta.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a news story about the community of Boyle having its emergency department closed 13 times in June. That followed two other stories—one in June and one in May—about closures in other communities, and not just emergency departments.

Since my last story, there have been several other closures.

At the end of June, Alberta Health Services announced the emergency department in the Central Alberta community of Consort would be without on-site physician coverage for a week, coming back online last Monday.

As with other emergency department closures, nurses were on hand for assessments and triage. but were directing patients to other communities for emergency care.

Last Friday, AHS published a media release regarding an overnight closure for the emergency department in the community of Fairview because of lack of on-site physician coverage.

AHS planned to reroute EMS calls to surrounding facilities in Grimshaw, Spirit River, Peace River, and Grande Prairie.

This isn’t the first time that the Fairview hospital has lost emergency department service. They lost it overnight once in May and overnight three times in June.

In addition, AHS closed 6 acute care beds at the hospital in Rocky Mountain House for a month. They claimed the cause for the closure was a lack of nurses, both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.

While 6 beds doesn’t seem like much, the hospital has only 33 acute care beds, so this amounts to their closing roughly 1 bed for every 5 they have.

The closure began last Monday and will remain in place until more nurses are available, which AHS anticipates will take about a month.

According to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, AHS also closed 12 beds at the hospital in Lacombe, both palliative care and acute care beds.

Independent journalist David Climenhaga also reported 6 acute care bed closures at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, the first urban closure over the last two months.

Finally, David Harrigan, labour relations director for United Nurses of Alberta, claimed on Twitter over the weekend that he’d been informed of the closure of 12 beds at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton.

By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 4 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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