“On the south Edmonton hospital, we are pausing to have a more comprehensive look at how we can better serve the needs of Edmontonians and all of north Alberta that utilize facilities within Edmonton,” LaGrange said

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There is “no timeline” yet for a new stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital, or for the south Edmonton hospital, Alberta’s health minister said Tuesday.

At a news conference inside the current Stollery hospital, which adjoins Edmonton’s university hospital, Alberta Health Minister Adriana LaGrange said more planning is needed for both projects, including an additional $17 million over the next three years.

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“On the south Edmonton hospital, we are pausing to have a more comprehensive look at how we can better serve the needs of Edmontonians and all of northern Alberta that utilize facilities within Edmonton,” LaGrange said.

The province is about to drop the budget for the coming year on Thursday and it’s expected to outline capital spending on health care projects.

LaGrange said the province has earmarked a total of $21 million for the planning phase through the next three years (including $3 million spent last year, and $1 million in 2021).

She outlined what the province’s next $17 million will be spent on.

“A level of planning will now go into the next stage where it really starts to look at where will this facility go. What is going to be incorporated within the walls of that facility. How do we then take that to the next phase of a business plan, a functional plan, which then leads to the design and build stage, so this really just takes it up a notch,” LaGrange said.

“Before it was conceptual; now they’re making it become very real.”

Planning on the south Edmonton hospital has been put on pause, but that won’t happen with the Stollery’s new facility, LaGrange said.

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“Because I’m committing to making sure that this planning goes along very, very quickly. And that we all know that there is a need for them,” she said, adding that a stand-alone Stollery “will actually free up over 200 adult spaces here.”

South Edmonton hospital
Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda, centre, speaks at the future site of the south Edmonton hospital along 127 Street and 20 Avenue SW in Edmonton on July 8, 2021. Photo by File Photo /20093703A

Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation’s interim CEO Karen Faulkner, also at the Tuesday press conference, said the non-profit is prepared to raise up to $250 million over the next three years for the stand-alone hospital, as soon as they get the green light.

“A new Stollery is poised to provide the most innovative, modern and family-centred physical and mental health care to help bring hope and comfort to kids dealing with serious illness and injury,” said Faulkner.

The Stollery Children’s Hospital is intermeshed with the University of Alberta Hospital and the Walter C. MacKenzie Sciences Centre.

According to foundation’s website, as it stands, the Stollery Children’s Hospital is the only children’s hospital in Canada that is woven through an adult hospital.  

Two years ago, high patient demand and acuity in the University of Alberta Hospital emergency department had renovated day ward space at Stollery Children’s Hospital redirected to adult or pediatric emergency overflow.

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LaGrange cited a tour she made of the existing facility.

“You’re in among all the adults … the mental health space for children is very small, very limited. There’s a huge need. When we look at Edmonton and surrounding areas, there’s many hospitals dedicated to adults. There’s only one dedicated to children in the north and that’s the Stollery. It deserves to be a standalone and we will make sure it happens,” LaGrange said.

New Stollery ‘urgently needed’: parent

Shelley Cormier, the parent of two Stollery patients, welcomed the idea of a stand-alone Stollery.

 “A new Stollery Children’s Hospital is urgently needed to provide dedicated care for our children. By separating kids from adults, a stand-alone Stollery ensures a nurturing environment and the most modern pediatric equipment and resources to offer families like ours a health care space designed exclusively for our children,” Cormier said.

Stollery Children's Hospital
The emergency entrance to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton on March 23, 2023. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia

With a web of 11 facilities, the Stollery system sees more than 300,000 children as patients each year from north of Red Deer.

With a catchment area of about 500,000 square kilometres, it’s the second-largest children’s hospital in Canada, with one of the highest inpatient volumes.

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By the numbers, the Stollery serves up 55,000 emergency visits and 12,000 surgeries annually. Nearly 40 per cent of inpatients come from outside the Edmonton area.  The current 236-bed hospital is the primary children’s hospital for residents of the Northwest Territories.

Martin Long, parliamentary secretary for rural health, said the Stollery has an incredible reputation for the impact it makes in the community, and especially in northern Alberta.

“This stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital is a long-awaited, necessary project that will help provide additional health care services to children and their families when they need it the most,” Long said. 


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