Alberta Health Services is directing more money into nursing homes and medical care in smaller centres in the province, according to its 2013-2016 Health and Business Plans released today.

Next year the province will spend 10 per cent more on community-based care, adding 5,300 more continuing care, palliative and hospice beds by 2015. Some of the money wil go towards improving access to primary care in smaller centres.

The province also put more money towards nursing care in hospitals (4.6 per cent) and emergency departments (6.4 per cent) in an effort to reduce wait times.

AHS will also put $245 million toward new projects, such as additional neonatal intensive care spaces at Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary and the opening of a new cancer centre in Red Deer.

The province said some of the new spending will be freed up by introducing hiring limits, reducing administrative costs and non-clinical activities, cutting part-time staff, closing hospital beds during the slowdown in surgeries over in summer months, and closing hospital beds being used by patients waiting for continuing care beds.

CEO Dr. Chris Eagle said AHS wants to save $220 million this year out of an overall budget of $13.4 billion.