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Exploring a new stand-alone children's hospital

Thanks to donors, the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation is matching the Alberta Government’s $1 million investment to explore a new stand-alone children’s hospital in Edmonton

Budget 2021 provides up to $1 million to launch capital planning for a potential larger, dedicated children’s hospital and care space for children and families from the Edmonton area, northern and central Alberta, as well as children from across Western Canada.

A matching $1 million from the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation will help develop the needs assessment, capital cost estimate and business case.

“Lowering health-care costs starts with kids,” says Mike House, president and CEO of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. “We are excited to work with government toward the goal of building a modern, purpose-built, stand-alone children’s hospital in Edmonton. One that is designed to provide the best physical and mental health care possible to kids and youth who are sick or injured. Together, we can give all kids the best chance at a long and healthy life – now and for generations.”

“Patients and families are at the heart of all we do, and we’re continually working to improve their health-care journey,” remarks Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services. “It’s exciting to explore new ways to offer high-quality care to our patients as we look at the possibility of a stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital. The Stollery currently serves an area far beyond Edmonton and this process will help us better understand the needs and prepare to support children and families well into the future.”

“This project is part of Budget 2021’s historic investment in health care to build smart health infrastructure based on the needs of Albertans and families,” says Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health. “I look forward to seeing how a new stand-alone hospital in Edmonton and northern Alberta could offer children the best, most modern health care possible, now and into the future.”

“This funding gives the Stollery the opportunity to plan for the future and ensure that the future needs of Albertans will be met,” says Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure. “This exploration project will allow for better budgeting of taxpayer dollars for an important project to benefit all Albertans.”

Alberta Health Services will begin by developing a needs assessment for a new children’s hospital, which will review what services the Stollery currently provides and if there are any gaps in services or care. It will also explore options for construction sites around the University of Alberta Hospital and the Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences site.

Once the needs assessment is complete, Alberta Infrastructure will hire a consultant to begin developing a business case for the project, which will explore how many beds are needed to serve Alberta families into the future and what other services and programs should be included in a new children’s hospital. A high-level cost estimate will also be completed so government can consider supporting it with capital dollars in the Spring Budget 2022.

The current Stollery Children’s Hospital was built in 2001, with the majority of services and beds located within the University of Alberta Hospital and the Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre in Edmonton. More than 40 per cent of children treated at the Stollery are from outside the Edmonton area, with patients coming from northern British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Children in Western Canada and the territories who need pediatric cardiac surgery are all referred to the Stollery. The Stollery is also a national leader in organ transplantation for kids.

Quick facts

  • The Stollery Children’s Hospital, which operates 236 beds, is the largest children’s hospital by bed count west of Toronto:
    • 161 beds at the Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre (48 critical care beds and 113 inpatient beds)
    • 69 neonatal intensive care beds at Stollery Phillip C. Etches Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Royal Alexandra Hospital site
    • Six intensive care beds at the Stollery NICU at the St. Albert’s Sturgeon Community Hospital
  • In 2018-19, the hospital at all sites had more than 320,000 visits/patient encounters (COVID-19 drove visits down in 2019-20), compared with about 110,400 visits/patient encounters the year the Stollery opened in 2001.
  • Visits to the Stollery emergency ward at the Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre went up to about 54,400 in 2019-20 from about 17,500 in 2001-02 – an increase of more than 200 per cent.
  • Operating room cases for the Stollery Children’s Hospital went up to about 12,000 in 2019-20 from about 2,800 in 2001-02.

Read the full news release here.