Reopen High River hospital, protesters demand
Only urgent care being provided so far as town recovers from flood
About 75 High River residents held a protest on the steps of the local hospital Friday, demanding all services be restored.
The Alberta government says it's moving as quickly as possible to get health care services in the flood-devastated town back to normal.
High River doctors sent the province a letter saying they want to go back to work and get the hospital fully open and operating.
An urgent care clinic is already open and the hospital continues to reopen one phase at a time, provincial officials said.
Long-term residents are also being moved back into their rooms in stages, they added.
Sylvia Moore said the situation is hard for her husband.
"He has to have iron transfusions and blood transfusions. So his last one he went to Okotoks for the lab and to Okotoks for the results read," she said.
"And then we had to go to Black Diamond for the iron transfusions, so he'd like to have his next one back here."
Dr. Keith Spackman, High River General Hospital’s chief of staff, said all services should be restored by early September.
Staffing is the challenge, he said, with many people either displaced or working in other facilities.
In the letter to the province, the doctors call on Premier Alison Redford to make reopening of the entire hospital the top priority.
"We are deeply concerned any additional unjustified delay will have incremental negative health impacts," the letter stated.
Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith, the MLA for High River, supported the doctors’ demands.
"The hospital suffered minimal damage during the flood and has been fully repaired," Smith said.
"The facilities are ready to perform at pre-flood levels, the doctors and nurses are ready to resume their pre-flood work, all that remains is for the government and AHS to allow that to happen."