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New health care capital plan to benefit northern Alberta

A new health care capital plan for the province is focusing on investing in care for Edmonton and northern Alberta.

The 5 year plan is worth $3.4 billion dollars and includes upgrades for several capital region hospitals.

Premier Jim Prentice says funding for health care facilities in Edmonton is important for more than just capital city residents.

“[These hospitals are] meeting the health care needs not only of Edmontonians but also of Albertans from across northern parts of the province in need of specialized care. For those who can be treated locall, the capital plan also means hospital projects are going to continue in places like Grande Prairie, Edson, and High Prairie where we have facilities under construction.”

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The funding includes dollars to design a template that Health Minister Stephen Mandel says will be used for rural hospitals across the province, starting in Whitecourt.

“The template will be a repeatable, scale-able, and cost-effective design. We all know that our rural hospitals are aging and just to have one-off doesn’t make sense, but this template is going to be effective, efficient, and something we can reuse on a constant basis.”

Once the template is complete there will be more funding to actually build the hospital in Whitecourt.

Mandel says the recent announcement of the decentralization of Alberta Health Services will be a great help in distributing this funding to communities in northern Alberta.

On top of all the capital announcements, funding for maintenance of Alberta hospitals is being increased by 60 per cent next year.

It will grow from its current amount of $70 million to $111 million, and then up to $146 million by 2018-19.

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