Overcapacity triggers reach alarming levels in Edmonton Emergency Departments

A previous version of this news release referred to overcapacity triggers at the  Stollery Children's Hospital. In fact, this was the Sturgeon Community Hospital. 

EDMONTON – New Democrat Leader Rachel Notley released documents today that reveal a shocking trend in the number of overcapacity triggers in Edmonton hospitals.

“When a patient is in life threatening condition and cannot access a physician because our hospitals are too crowded, that is a clear indication that our health care system is in crisis and because the PCs refuse to take responsibility for this serious problem, the situation is getting worse,” said Notley.
Overcapacity protocol is triggered by one or a combination of indictors that a medical site does not have the ability or capacity to respond to a current situation.
Overcapacity triggers data, obtained through a Freedom of Information application show that on average overcapacity triggers have more than tripled since April 2013, spiking at 366 in October 2014.
“This is a snapshot of just how much the PCs have allowed this vital public service to break down. The doctors and nurses in our hospitals are working as hard as they can but they just don’t have the resources to deal with the patients who are coming in,” said Notley.
“The overcrowding in Alberta hospitals has no doubt resulted in some tragic consequences for Alberta families, consequences that could have been avoided had the PCs taken responsibility for this serious situation. It’s just wrong. Albertans should not have to pay the price for this government’s reckless policies.”
The NDP would relieve pressures on emergency departments by ensuring there are adequate and appropriate long term care spaces for Albertans who need them.

For a backgrounder on overcapacity triggers, click here.