AHS Once Again Starts Shrinking Its ICU Bed Supply Despite Previous Claims of Shortages

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on November 2, 2021

Albertans over the past couple of months have been constantly told that the uptick in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was overwhelming the healthcare system, and this could all be blamed on the unvaccinated. 

Currently, infection and hospitalization numbers are falling, and still, only around 73.7 percent of Albertans have been vaccinated, which should further cement the idea that waves of COVID-19 seem to build and dissipate naturally, seeing as even the jurisdictions with the highest rates of vaccination also experience waves.

Now, one would think that because the increase in hospitalizations in the ICU wards supposedly required the Alberta Health Service to suspend non-emergency surgeries that Alberta should be maintaining a higher number of ICU beds available for patients, but that is not what AHS is doing.

According to publicly available government data, the AHS has actually significantly reduced available ICU beds over the past two weeks from 376 to 325. 

Considering the fact that many people who had their surgeries and other invasive medical procedures canceled it would seem logical to maintain a high number of ICU beds in order to accommodate the large backlog of patients awaiting treatments, yet AHS reduces availability.

The AHS back in April of 2020 even said that they could increase ICU beds by 1,080 beds in order to deal with potential influxes of COVID-19 patients in hospitals, yet since then AHS has been operating with far fewer beds than that, and sometimes with fewer beds than would be used on average in a non-COVID year. 

Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes called out the Alberta government and AHS for not having utilized these 1,081 beds they claimed that they could have used and only received a weak response back from Health Minister Jason Copping.

It seems irresponsible or negligent for AHS to be reducing beds at this time, especially without a public explanation after weeks of Albertans being told that AHS needs more beds. 

AHS has also been attempting to get rid of thousands of “casual employees” due to being unvaccinated, which is also reducing the ability of Alberta’s healthcare system to react to large influxes of patients in hospitals.

The Alberta government and AHS need to be more transparent with the public about why they are making the decisions that they have because outside of putting in place new restrictions and blaming it on unvaccinated Albertans, the Alberta government has rarely explained the reason or utility of its public health measures and lowering of ICU bed numbers.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

4 responses to “AHS Once Again Starts Shrinking Its ICU Bed Supply Despite Previous Claims of Shortages”

  1. Scheers Darcy says:

    The corruption never stops !

  2. Rob says:

    If the National Telegraph is going to chastise AHS for lack of ICU beds, then they should also state that it’s not the number of beds, but lack of staffing and the lack of staffing will just increase because of the vaccination mandate. However, if they follow Ontario and Quebec, they will walk-back on the mandate because of staff shortages. Also, TNT should report the correct vaccination numbers as of today’s date; 80.3% of eligible Albertans have received 2 doses.

  3. Deb says:

    I for one am totally disgusted by the political opportunism that has marked this covid issue from day one!
    That Includes AHS, NDP and UCP here in Alberta. As far as the selective information and memory of Tam and Trudeau, well let me say, Let’s GO Brandon!!
    It has been divisive, and totally reprehensible,, and a big shout out to the Canadian taxpayer funded liberal propaganda machine that purports to be news

  4. Vanessa says:

    This is big. But the #PfizerGate scandal is bigger, especially now that the CEO has been arrested.

    Wyatt, why not look into it?