After five years of hard work in Airdrie, one of the fastest growing cities in Canada city will soon have around-the-clock urgent care.
Alberta’s Health Minister made the announcement Wednesday morning.
Sarah Hoffman says in the last year, 4,000 people from Airdrie were forced to come to Calgary to see a doctor after their urgent care centre closed for the day, so it was important to find a way to provide 24/7 care, even in this tough economy.
“It’s a tough time economically in our province. We all see the deficit but we want to make sure every dollar we have is being used soundly and we have about a three per cent increase in the health budget this year, and its looking like that might go down in the future. In the platform we said we want to get that down to two per cent.”
Michelle Bates, co-founder of the Airdrie Health Foundation is getting credit for a lot of the work getting to this point. Her five year old son Lane died in 2009 after becoming seriously ill during the night. She feels her son could have been saved if he would have been able to get medical help in time.
“Decisions we made the night of Oct. 26th, 2009 were made largely due to the lack of 24 hour health services here in Airdrie and overcrowded hospitals in Calgary, and I hope no other family has to suffer the way we have. Calgary hospitals are simply too far away and are at or above capacity a lot of the times. Airdrie needs to be seen as its own city with its own unique needs.”
Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown is beyond grateful to the province for the round-the-clock service.
“I don’t know where the money came from and I’m not even going to ask because I can’t even imagine what you guys are dealing with up there for finances. I know how tough it is in Airdrie and I know there’s a lot of pressure from communities like Airdrie-I want, I want, I want- and you can only go so far.”
The 24/7 urgent care will be in place early next year.
The Wildrose Opposition is pleased but the news but would thinks Airdrie needs a brand new upgraded emergency facility to meet the needs of residents. But Hoffman says with finances so squeezed, a renovated existing building was the only option right now.