Three Calgary hospitals will be without surgical support staff this weekend

General surgery at three Calgary hospitals will operate with limited staff this weekend. Emergency room doctors say it could endanger people’s health.

General surgery at Foothills Medical Center, Peter Reid Center, and Rocky View General Hospital will be spotted by house staff during certain times of the week, according to a notice provided to the CBC.

On Sundays, all these hospitals have a period of absence from house staff.

These support shifts are often manned by medical personnel, according to AHS. Physician assistants can also be deployed to prepare the next patient for surgery to prevent delays, said Dr. Tony Gomez, president of the Alberta General Surgeons Association.

That means the Calgarians may have longer wait times for surgery this weekend, he added.

Gray building with a sign reading 'Foothills Medical Center'
Foothills Medical Center is one of Calgary’s hospitals and has no house staff during certain weekends. (CBC)

“What happened this weekend was that surgeons at every facility in Calgary were told they had to make their own calls without a team that Calgary general surgeons felt was dangerous,” Gomez said. “So the surgeon will be kind of out of step, trying to keep up with things.”

“Emergency rooms can be jammed with 8, 10, or 15 surgical patients waiting to be seen, for 8, 12, or 16 hours, depending on surgeon availability. , you may not be able to see a doctor for 24 hours.”

Gomez said this is a longstanding problem as the state struggles to keep doctors and residents.

Alyssa Morris, an ER physician in Calgary, said she was concerned that staff shortages could lead to surgical diversion, with all of the hospital’s surgeries being transferred to South Health Campus Hospital.

“I think the public needs to know that their health is in great danger,” she said.

“If they have a surgical problem, they can no longer expect adequate surgical consultation and care at many sites within our very large city.”

She said it’s been an ongoing problem for months, but it’s now happening at multiple hospitals.

She added that one of the fully staffed hospitals is rolling out Connect Care, a new AHS digital filing system, this weekend and it will blow you away.

In an emailed statement to the CBC, AHS spokesperson James Wood said emergency surgeries, as well as specialty surgeries such as cardiac and orthopedic surgeries, will continue to be performed at all Calgary hospitals as needed. I said yes.

“At Foothills Medical Center, Peter Reid Center and Rocky View General Hospital, some support shifts (e.g. residents) are partially covered due to unforeseen absences (including sickness and vacations). We are actively working to fill these spots,” Wood wrote, emailing a statement.

He added that there is no surgical diversion in Calgary scheduled for this weekend.

“Emergency care will continue as needed, but surgical evaluation may be delayed within the emergency departments of affected sites. All patients will continue to be triaged and treated.”

Wood said Connect Care Launch 6 will take place this weekend, regardless of support shift availability.

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