A look into how the new hospital will open doors for care

“We’re very happy to be here and have (the hospital) so close. It’s an awesome service to have.”

That’s how Auburn Bay resident Sara Jimenez feels about Calgary’s newest hospital, which will open up just a few blocks away from her house.

However, Jimenez’s feeling of security may be somewhat overstated, thanks to the way Calgary’s ambulance dispatch system works.

A common misconception is that ambulances bring patients to the closest hospital.

In actuality, EMS spokesperson Stuart Brideaux explains that ambulances are dispatched to the appropriate hospital that guarantees bed space, an available doctor and the specialization that applies to the patient’s needs.Sara Jimenez and her son play in the parks of Auburn Bay, with South Health Campus not far from home.

Photo by Larissa Pinhal

The new South Health Campus will meet the needs of patients experiencing neurological and hand injuries when it is fully operational at the end of 2013.

Still, Brideaux said the campus will “ease stress in the system as a whole,” providing a “fourth destination to allocate patients.”

At present, those destinations are limited to Rockyview General Hospital, Peter Lougheed Centre and Foothills Medical Centre – Calgary’s only trauma location.

According to Brideaux, Alberta Health Services can’t provide exact information about the impact the campus will have on overall wait times because it hasn’t yet fully opened.

But the campus’s facility medical director Dr Cheri Nijssen-Jordan says, “People will come” to the hospital, which now has two out of its three MRI machines up and running.

The campus is expected to conduct 20,000 exams per year and reduce overall wait times for various medical treatments – such as MRI scans.

lpinhal@cjournal.ca