tp-alberta-hospital2

Patients at Alberta Hospital will not be moved until after a committee report expected in February. ((CBC))

Plans to move patients out of Alberta Hospital Edmonton are being delayed until after a report is submitted next February, says the co-chair of a committee set up to oversee changes at the hospital.

Staff at the hospital had expressed concerns the patients could be moved as early as the beginning of December.

"It's gone by and any other dates are irrelevant, until the committee makes it recommendation," Dennis Anderson said Wednesday. "Then the powers that be have to make decisions, hopefully based on those recommendations [in the report]."

Anderson is the founder of the Alberta Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health.

The Alberta government announced in August it would close parts of the mental health facility and move the patients into community care facilities over the next three years, with geriatric patients expected to be the first to move.

There are significant challenges to finding appropriate new facilities, Anderson said.

"Any clients moving must, must have at least equal treatment to what they're getting currently at Alberta hospital," he said.

"The space issue is a big one because right now at Alberta hospital, the beautiful grounds that they're on allow them some activities, that it's difficult to find elsewhere."

Anderson said he has faith Premier Ed Stelmach will heed the recommendations of the committee.