(Pixabay photo)

Alberta to fund $100M to upgrade operating suites, reduce surgery wait lists

Health Minister says that will mean about 30,000 more surgeries yearly by 2023

Alberta is spending $100 million to upgrade hospital operating rooms and move some low-risk surgeries to smaller facilities and private clinics.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro says that will mean an extra 17,000 surgeries to be done in the 2020-21 fiscal year and about 30,000 more yearly by 2023.

There are to be renovations to operating rooms and some new surgical suites in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie and Lethbridge.

Shandro says some low-risk surgeries are to be moved from major hospitals to regional ones, and more private clinics are to be used to do operations covered under medicare.

ALSO READ: Alberta government says it is fully or partially closing 20 provincial parks

Opposition health critic David Shepherd says he wonders where Shandro will find doctors to do the work, given he is making changes to pay and billing rules that could drive physicians away.

In recent days, the NDP has recounted in the legislature stories of doctors who are reconsidering whether to stay in Alberta.

Doctors who bill the province would have to give formal notice to Alberta Health Services before leaving, says Dr. Verna Yiu, who heads the agency. She says she hasn’t seen any notices submitted.

The Canadian Press

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