“When a family receives a cancer diagnosis, it’s devastating news,” said Rick Fraser, PC MLA Calgary-South East. “It turns their lives upside-down. Anything we can do to help make that journey easier is absolutely the right and necessary thing to do. Calgary and southern Alberta need more cancer treatment capacity, there’s no doubt about that. However, closing and rebuilding staff and patient parking lots and filling the Foothills Medical Centre with construction equipment will make it more difficult for all hospital patients to access treatment, and more difficult for the families and staff who support those with cancer.”
The Foothills Medical Centre site is difficult to access for patients driving from southern Alberta because it is several kilometres away from major highways. The South Health Campus, by contrast, would have been accessible to Albertans inside and outside of Calgary by public transit and the Calgary Ring Road.
PC Caucus members fully believe in providing comprehensive cancer care for Calgarians and residents of southern and central Alberta now and for years into the future, but the Foothills Medical Centre site cannot grow with Alberta’s population. “We had planned to be building on the South Campus site this fall,” said Fraser, “but instead, we’re now waiting until at least the fall just to see the government’s plans for a cheaper facility.”
“Foothills was built in the 1960s and is the oldest hospital in Calgary. It is nearing the end of its usable life, and there will be extra costs to maintain access to the hospital during construction if the Foothills Medical Centre is used. As well, because of its age, the Foothills facility will have to undergo a major renovation or demolition and rebuild within the next 20 years. Those access, renovation and construction dollars would be better spent being used to build a better facility at South Health Campus,” Fraser concluded.
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Communications, PC Caucus