Health Quality Council of Alberta announces findings and recommendations related to its review of emergency and urgent care services in the Calgary Health Region

    CALGARY, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - The Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA)
today released its findings and recommendations from a comprehensive review of
emergency and urgent care services in the Calgary Health Region (CHR). The
review was undertaken at the request of the CHR under section 14 of the Health
Quality Council of Alberta Regulation, which states that the Council may
assess, inquire into or study matters respecting patient safety and the
quality of patient care that are referred to it at the request of a health
    The HQCA's 11 recommendations focus on two levels: organizational
performance affecting emergency and urgent care services, including improved
strategic planning, leadership, measurement and workforce engagement; and
department and service-level performance.
    In releasing the recommendations, Dr. John Cowell, chief executive
officer of the Council, said he believes the report gives the CHR new ideas
and opportunities to explore that have significant potential to improve the
quality of emergency and urgent care services for citizens.
    "One of our key recommendations is for the Region to develop a service
strategy that specifically focuses on emergency and urgent care rather than
being contained within acute and sub-acute care. There's no doubt that
compared to a decade ago, changes in the scope of care, technology and service
delivery now put emergency and urgent care on equal footing with strategic
areas such as inpatient care and community care. The CHR has an opportunity to
become a leader in the area of emergency and urgent care by addressing this
new strategic reality.
    "We are very pleased that the CHR approached the Council to conduct this
important independent quality review," continues Cowell. "We know the Region
is dealing with challenges such as rapid population growth that have had
significant impact on all service areas. However, throughout the course of our
review, we found everyone from executive, management, staff and physicians
responsive and open to change."
    "This review affirms that the Calgary Health Region is already performing
at a high level compared to other health systems in the delivery of health
care services," says Jack Davis, the Region's chief executive officer. "Even
more importantly, it identifies specific areas that can be improved upon and
provides the impetus to explore truly innovative practices and processes,
which will take us well beyond what is currently viewed as best practices for
emergency and urgent care services in this country.
    "The Region wishes to thank Dr. Cowell and his staff for their work on
this review and the manner in which it was conducted," says Davis. "This
review will help the Region as we move forward in advancing emergency and
urgent care services in our increasingly complex health care system. We take
this report very seriously and all of the recommendations will be closely
examined by our executive management team."
    The HQCA's recommendations were developed following a thorough and
interactive review of CHR processes and practices as well as an examination of
leading national and international emergency and urgent care practices. The
patient perspective was captured by extracting findings from a larger
provincewide survey of emergency departments and urgent care centres that the
HQCA conducted in early 2007. The full findings from that survey will be
publicly released later in the year. A group of expert advisors reviewed the
report and provided additional feedback.

    The Health Quality Council of Alberta has experience investigating
quality and safety concerns. Most recently it identified issues and made
recommendations related to infection prevention and control and central
sterilization room issues in East Central Health. In the past it has also
reviewed medication safety issues for the Alberta Cancer Board, Calgary Health
Region and David Thompson Health Region.
    The report is available at or

For further information:

For further information: Pam Brandt, Communications Lead, Health Quality
Council of Alberta, (403) 297-8162, (403) 850-5067 (cell); Sheila Rougeau,
Senior Communications Advisor, Calgary Health Region, (403) 944-3661, (403)
816-0553 (cell)

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