New tool shows AHS bed closures or service reductions across Alberta

EDMONTON — Alberta Health Services (AHS) created a new tool for residents to check short-term and temporary bed reductions online.

In a news release sent Friday, AHS said it launched a new webpage that will be regularly updated to show emergency or acute care service reductions.

“Patient care is available at all AHS facilities,” AHS said in a statement. “The vast majority of all beds remain open and available for patient care.”

AHS has 8,500 acute care beds and 1,200 emergency department care spaces throughout the province.

According to the health authority, 98.2 per cent of those beds and 97.1 per cent of the care spaces are open and available for patients, respectively.

“Temporary bed closures are not uncommon for AHS or any other health system, especially in the summer – when staffing levels are historically lower as our healthcare workers tend to take more personal time or vacation,” AHS added.

“The system is constantly dynamic, and we manage beds on an hourly and daily basis, depending on patient need, staffing levels, acuity of patients, and may other factors.”

The new website can be found here.  

Previously, AHS would send press releases announcing some service reductions or bed closures.

According to the new webpage, 26 AHS facilities are experiencing temporary bed closures or service disruptions, including Lacombe, Hanna, Rocky Mountain House, Beaverlodge, Westlock, Lac La Biche, and St. Paul.

Edmonton’s Royal Alexandra Hospital acute care and emergency department are both facing bed reductions, as well as the University of Alberta surgery department – where two of 14 operating rooms are closed due to a “temporary lack of physician coverage.”

The official opposition had been calling on the government to create such a tool. On July 22, Health Minister Tyler Shandro had called the NDP’s demand for public data about service reductions and closures a “ruse” for political gain.

AHS has reassured Albertans multiple times that acute care bed and emergency department service level disruptions are part of staff taking seasonal vacations. The opposition have been concerned that appropriate levels of care would not be accessible to all Albertans, especially in rural areas.

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