16-Jun-2021 Source: Alberta Health Services
More than $1 million will be spent on construction of a new heliport at the Oilfields General Hospital in Black Diamond. The new heliport will be able to accommodate STARS’ new helicopters, improving access. Design for the heliport has begun and construction will begin in the coming months. More detailed construction timelines will be shared once the project is underway.
“No matter where you live in the province, it’s important that your healthcare needs can be met as close to home as possible,” says Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health. “This project helps make that a reality, and is part of our commitment to manage and improve health infrastructure and services across Alberta.”
The current helipad at Oilfields General Hospital will be closed temporarily to accommodate construction. During the closure, air ambulance helicopters will land at a temporary landing site on private land near the hospital, only five minutes away, and patients will be transported to and from hospital by ground ambulance. This is a safe and common practice in other communities across the province and has been used previously in Black Diamond.
The temporary landing area is undergoing improvements to ensure aircraft and public safety standards are met, including the installation of landing mats and fencing to keep livestock away from the site.
“I am please to have these funds going into the rural health system,” says RJ Sigurdson, MLA for Highwood. “Investments like these in rural Alberta play an important part in ensuring Albertans have access to healthcare facilities that are safe and secure.”
In early 2019, to ensure all AHS heliports meet standards appropriate for air ambulance helicopters, AHS hired a consultant to do a provincial heliport review to ensure our heliports were compliant with all Transport Canada safety standards. The review identified major safety concerns with the heliport at the Oilfields General Hospital that required a new heliport built further away from the hospital but still on the grounds.
“Projects like these help maintain our facilities and ensure our patients stay well,” says Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of AHS. “So it is vital we keep our health-care infrastructure current and up to date.”
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.