Monday, July 13, 2009

Sundre Hospital Helipad Closure Causes Major Upset

The Community Center in Sundre was packed with several hundred people last Tuesday, July 7, after an announcement by Alberta Health Services that the hospital helipad had been closed due to non compliance with regulations issues. The meeting was adressed by Sundre Mayor Roy Cummings and attended by local MLA Ty Lund (left), who received some flak from the audience as the local representative for the Stelmach Government in Alberta.
Six other helipads in the province, including the one serving the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, were closed at the same time as the one in Sundre.
The Sundre Hospital helipad is critical for the evacuation by STARS helicopters of trauma affected victims in West Central Alberta to intensive care treatment in Calgary.
In addressing the meeting, Cummings immediately announced that the ban had been lifted as of midnight, July 7, and that local volunteers would quickly be able to address any helipad regulation issues, if required.
MLA Ty Lund had been unable to track down any printed information in regards to helipad closures and expessed a sense of frustration in that regard. Some members of the audience were quite agresssive with what they perceived to be bureaucratic bungling and lack of political control over the behavior of unnamed bureaucrats. Former local MP Myron Thompson was very open about his feelings. Providing fuel for the fire were also recent rumblings about the closure of smaller regional hospitals, or the downgrading of their designated functions. Another issue in Sundre has been the lack of action by the provincial government in dealing with the flood threat to the town after the Red Deer River changed its course during the June 18, 2005, flood. The Stelmach government received a clear warning from those that attended the public meeting in the community center:
"Don't take us for granted".

No comments: