The Alberta NDP says the Royal Alexandra Hospital is in dire need repairs worth half a billion dollars.
The party obtained documents through a Freedom of Information (FOIP) request that show the hospital’s Active Treatment Centre is in need of repairs in order to meet current standards of infection prevention and control.
“[Progressive Conservative]-neglected hospital upkeep and maintenance has again led to a situation where the problems just keep getting worse,” NDP leader Rachel Notley said at a new conference on Thursday.
“It's going to cost a lot to clean up this problem.”
Notley also said the insufficient infrastructure is actually making people more sick, something that health minister Stephen Mandel disagrees with.
"The statistics in our province and for our hospitals show that's not the case," he said. "You have to give credit to the people who work at the Royal Alex, who work very hard to keep infection down. It's a greater challenge because it is an older hospital."
The Royal Alexandra Hospital Bed Replacement Tower project was listed as a number one priority in 2013 by Alberta Health Services. The plan included recommended replacing approximately 500 medicine and surgery beds in the ATC.
The documents outline numerous issues facing the current ATC, including general crowding of patients and physicians to the detriment of effective care and patient safety, an inadequate ventilation system, and a lack of suitably located handwashing sinks.
The documents also show that a high proportion of four-bed rooms and two-bed rooms in the Royal Alex risk cross-patient infections and reduce patient privacy.
“The ventilation system … is not at the minimum standard for infection control and the conclusion is that fixing that is more expensive than just building a brand new tower,” Notley said.
The documents also show the PCs are considering using a P3 — a public-private partnership — to build the new tower at the hospital, something that Notley says is concerning.
“We’re not talking about building cement highways,” she said. “We’re talking about building highly technical, precise hospitals.”
Mandel said while he is skeptical of P3s, he would not discount the partnership as an option.
"If we can do something efficiently, effectively and it's going to deliver that kind of service to Albertans, that's what we should do," he said.