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Alberta Health Services says 98 per cent of beds open, closures no cause for alarm

Last Updated Jul 23, 2021 at 5:00 pm MDT

Bed in hallway. The concept of working stressful environment

EDMONTON — Alberta Health Services (AHS) says the current spate of hospital bed closures is minimal, not unusual and isn’t affecting patient care.

Deb Gordon, who is the chief operating officer for AHS, says more than 98 per cent of beds in acute and emergency care are available provincewide.

Gordon says there are only two locations — Fort Vermilion and Elk Point — where emergency services have closed and forced patients to be diverted elsewhere at certain times.


AHS was responding to recent reports from frontline health workers of bed and department closures at hospitals across the province.

Gordon says COVID-19 has proven a challenge, noting staff worked harder and longer during the pandemic and may not always be available now for summer relief as in years past.

The Opposition NDP says the closures are due to a critical shortage of frontline staff, a situation worsened by a provincial government alienating nurses by demanding wage rollbacks in the current round of negotiations.