Calgary

Alberta government invests $63.5M for 11 new operating rooms at Calgary's Foothills hospital

Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre will receive 11 new operating rooms and 17 additional recovery beds through a $63.5-million investment by the Alberta government.

Multimillion-dollar investment includes 17 additional recovery beds

The fifth floor of the Foothills Medical Centre will receive 11 new operating rooms, providing for 7,000 more surgeries annually by late 2025. (Alberta Health Services)

Calgary's Foothills Medical Centre will receive 11 new operating rooms and 17 additional recovery beds through a $63.5-million investment by the Alberta government.

The province announced a commitment of $3.2 billion to expand health care capacity for Albertans in Budget 2022. Of that amount, $133 million is going toward the Alberta surgical initiative capital program in the next three years to increase surgical capacity in the province — $35 million of which is designated for the Foothills project.

The 11 new operating rooms are in addition to the 32 existing operating rooms at the northwest Calgary hospital. They will allow up to 7,000 more surgeries each year.

"Now with the resources in Budget 2022, we're going to push the surgery plan into high gear — and this project here at Foothills is a centerpiece of that plan," said Copping in a news conference.

Premier Jason Kenney says his government is committed to decreasing surgical wait times for Albertans and building a resilient system to meet the needs of families and children.

"We're building a stronger, better health system that will serve Albertans today, tomorrow and for generations to come."

New operating rooms will include specialized features

Several of the new operating rooms at Foothills hospital will include specialized features to improve surgical service.

Copping says two rooms will support minimally invasive surgeries, including procedures guided by radiology in real time.

One or two new operating rooms will support additional air exchange for implant surgeries — such as hip or knee replacements — to help with smoke and chemical smells during those procedures.

At least one new operating room will be created as an airborne isolation suite with an anteroom, designed to prevent airborne infection, such as tuberculosis and COVID-19.

"These upgrades will allow surgeons here at the Foothills to focus on the most complex surgeries," said Copping.

That means lower-risk surgeries can then be moved off-site to chartered surgical facilities in Calgary, as well as hospitals in Canmore and High River, says Copping.

The new operating rooms are expected to be completed in late 2025, with the construction start date still to be determined.

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