A win for City but more advocacy needed

Courthouse announcement is welcomed, hospital announcement is wanted as well

The announcement of Red Deer’s new Justice Centre is a welcomed one by many.

Last week Premier Rachel Notley, Brian Mason, minister of Infrastructure and Kathleen Ganley, minister of Justice and Solicitor General joined local officials to make the announcement.

After what officials say has been more than a decade of advocating, the City is set to see an expanded courthouse in the next five years. While this is positive news, the Red Deer justice system will continue to feel the pinch until the new, expanded courthouse is built.

The new courthouse is certainly one big check for Red Deer, however another desperate and imminent issue remains.

Many have expressed their disappointment in the last few weeks as the provincial budget failed to include any money allocated towards services or infrastructure at the Red Deer Regional Hospital.

Support for better services has ramped up in the last several months and it will continue to grow. Hundreds turned out for the first ‘State of the Hospital Address’ in February.

Attendees heard the lack of health care infrastructure spending that Central Alberta has received over the past many years has led to extremely serious consequences for health care in Central Alberta.

Officials say Central Albertans are 60% more likely to die from heart attacks than patients in Edmonton or Calgary due to a lack of a cardiac catheterization lab and other cardiac programs.

Program spending for illnesses involving the lung, gastrointestinal, nervous system, kidney and the heart, and for conditions such as diabetes, have not kept pace with the needs of the population of Central Alberta. This means that patients have to go to Edmonton or Calgary for their care.

Organizers said they were blown away by the response during that first meeting, as they had to quickly add a second meeting later that evening.

A second ‘State of the Hospital Address’ is scheduled for June. And as more awareness continues to build, we suspect that meeting to be even more well-attended.

Each and every one of us is affected by the services the hospital provides. This issue is one that will not go away any time soon, in fact, with the population in the Central Alberta area expected to continue growing, demand will soar even further.

We all need to get behind the cause. It’s an important one for not only the citizens of Red Deer, but for the surrounding communities as well. We deserve to have the services we need here in our own City. It is our job as a community to keep the momentum going.