Enoch Cree Nation, AHS working to reduce surgical wait times

Screenshot of a medical bed being prepared in Enoch Cree Nation's partnership promotional video. (Enoch Cree/YouTube)

The organizations are discussing new strategies to reduce adult wait times for orthopedic surgeries in the province.



Enoch Cree Nation and Surgical Centres Inc. are in discussions with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to provide more immediate care to orthopedic surgery patients currently on the wait-list. 

On Wednesday, the Government of Alberta announced the construction of a new surgical facility being built in Enoch Cree Nation and the intent to accommodate those waiting for surgery. 

The centre is set to become one of the first surgical facilities to be built on First Nations land in Canada, and could offer 3,000 hip, knee and other joint replacements in 2023 once a deal is finalized and construction is complete. 

In a media release, Chief Billy Morin stated the partnership will help revolutionize the way treatment is offered in the community.

“Today we are taking action to provide world-class care for all Albertans who experience the Maskêkosihk way,” he said.  

“This announcement is a key first step in a long journey, and we look forward to walking this path together with our partners to redefine health-care delivery in Alberta and beyond.”

Currently, the wait-list for adult surgical procedures is estimated to have over 70,000 patients in queue. This is a reduction from the figures at the beginning of April which had over 74,000 in line. 

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada, the list contained approximately 68,000 people.

Enoch Cree Nation is one of six First Nations in Alberta to receive a $50,000 grant from the provincial government to create a plan to participate in the Alberta Surgical Initiative after AHS launched a request for proposals in 2020.

Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations, briefly highlighted how the partnership will have a multi-faceted effect on the province.

“Indigenous communities in Alberta have the capacity to offer much-needed services," he stated.

"Partnerships like this benefit all communities by improving access to services, diversifying economic opportunity and expanding job growth. This is another meaningful step toward true reconcili-ACTION.”

This year's budget includes $133 million to expand and build new operating rooms in hospitals across the province over three years through the Alberta Surgical Initiative. 


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