Alberta Government Delayed 15,000 Surgeries Yet is Reducing ICU Capacity

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on November 6, 2021

The extent to which the Alberta government and Alberta Health Service’s delay of surgeries have affected people is startlingly high with more than 15,000 surgeries having been delayed over the 4th wave of COVID-19 in the province. For context around 30,000 surgeries were delayed over the entire previous three waves of COVID combined. 

What frustrates many Albertans is how needless the delays feel when they know that the AHS has not been utilizing the funded-ICU beds they have access to and said they could operate, over the past year. 

The National Telegraph has referenced it several times now, but it deserves repeating. Back in April of 2020 AHS in an official Alberta government COVID-19 update said that they could increase ICU capacity by 1,081 beds if need be, yet every time there was a need for more beds, Alberta has struggled along with fewer than 400 adult ICU beds. 

The UCP has even funded 1,481 beds for 2021, so availability of resources is not a problem, yet AHS keeps fear-mongering that hospitals could be overwhelmed while never addressing their failure to meet previous commitments to increase ICU capacity by more than 1,000 beds. 

Just a few days ago it was noted by skeptics of AHS’ performance during the pandemic that they are now reducing ICU capacity, in spite of the need for more capacity to catch up on the backlog of delayed surgeries.

It makes one wonder if AHS and the Alberta government really care about Albertans who had their surgeries delayed when, without explanation, AHS is reducing the ability for ICUs to deal with the thousands of people who are in desperate need of treatment. It is as if only COVID-19 matters to government/healthcare officials when it comes to potential suffering.

To add to the frustration with the government, Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notely is pretending that the UCP’s policies are what caused delays to scheduled surgeries, despite the NDP just wanting harsher versions of the failing UCP policies. Notely and the NDP have been far more pro-vaccine mandate than the UCP despite that policy threatening to suspend over 26,000 causal health care employees the system needs to operate.

The public should know how many of those 15,000 surgery delays led to a significant worsening of a patient’s condition, but that is one of those details that will likely not be investigated at the risk of making the Alberta government and AHS look worse than they already do. Only  

It seems to be yet another week where AHS’ management of the Alberta health care system does not match up with the needs on the ground, and it would be helpful if more MLAs would start calling out the startling inconsistencies. 

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.

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