The temporary diversion of some emergency general surgery cases has been resolved at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre (RDRHC) following the successful recruitment of six new Clinical Assistants.

Since April 29, it has been necessary for RDRHC to divert some general surgery cases to other surgical sites in the Central Zone – including Camrose, Rocky Mountain House and Drumheller – and to facilities in Edmonton and Calgary following the departure of two Clinical Assistants who supported the hospital’s general surgery program. The two Clinical Assistants left to further their medical education and training.

Clinical Assistants support surgeons in case consults, referral reviews, caring for surgical inpatients, and assist in emergency surgeries within the general surgery program. 

There were 332 general surgery procedures completed at RDRHC between April 29 and July 4 during the diversion. During that time, 149 patients needing general surgery were diverted to other sites to be safely cared for. 

Patients who needed emergency surgeries, were medically unstable for transport, and those needing scheduled general surgery procedures continued to be supported in Red Deer during this time. 

According to an AHS spokesperson "We acknowledge that the temporary diversion of some general surgery cases caused strain and anxiety for those patients who were impacted, and we are grateful for their patience during this time. We are also extremely grateful to all our staff and physicians at RDRHC, who continue to work tirelessly to support and care for patients."

Many rural sites, based on geography – especially those in the northern corners of the Central Zone – already routinely refer patients requiring surgical care into other Zones as required.  

All RDRHC staff, physicians and leaders extend their gratitude to colleagues at other facilities for the support and collaboration during the diversion.