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Mayor Scott issues statement on movement of seniors from the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre

(Fort McMurray, AB – April 5, 2020) – Mayor Don Scott issued the following statement regarding the movement of seniors from the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre to locations outside of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo: 


“It has been brought to Council’s attention that in an effort to ensure adequate beds, Alberta Health Services (AHS) proposes moving seniors from Northern Lights Regional Health Centre (NLRHC) to locations outside of Wood Buffalo. 


We recognize that the movement of our seniors may be necessary to ensure their safety and well-being. However, I, along with my Council colleagues, have deep concerns about this action for a variety of reasons, not limited to:

  • A recognized increase of morbidity rate for seniors when moved.
  • Despite, as of April 2, there being no active cases in our hospital, moves are being made quickly and reportedly patients could expect as little as a two-hour notification.
  • A lack of clarity on how patients are being relocated, and how patients and families are being involved in the process. 
  • Possible increased costs to families for a move and new facilities. 
  • The availability of sufficient resources to support families after the move. 
  • A lack of clarity on a seniors’ return home; will a return occur when restrictions are lifted? Will a return be delayed until after the Willow Square Continuing Care Centre is completed and commissioned?


On behalf of Council, I have written to the Ministry of Health to express these concerns, and have asked that the Minister of Health, the Honourable Tyler Shandro, direct the Northern Lights Regional Heath Centre to:

  • Mobilize their Quality Review Team to individually assess each intended older adult move.
  • Involve a Physician for appropriate assessment of each older adult move.
  • Follow all Physician recommendations around relocation.
  • Strictly adhere to the Patient First Strategy and commitments therein around ‘Every Interaction, Every Initiative and Every Investment.’

This is an urgent matter for us, requiring AHS’ immediate attention. Our region has been built by the hard work and commitment of our seniors, and they are a valued part of Wood Buffalo’s past, present, and future. During this public health crisis, it is critical that we are mindful to do what is best for them and their families.”

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Media@rmwb.ca

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