The Capital Health Region’s capacity is stretched so thin from an ongoing staff shortage that huge overtime costs have been incurred, creating a multi-million-dollar deficit, spokesman Steve Buick said yesterday.



But while the deficit could climb as high as $30 million, it’s still far less than the Calgary Health Region, which demanded an extra $115 million from the province this week to address system pressures, he said.



"We’re paying whatever overtime we have to in order to keep as many staff at work as we possibly can, but the staff are overextended as it is," he said.

Patients in Capital Health have continued to face long delays, waiting for over 24 hours for a bed in some instances.

CEO of the Calgary Health Region Jack Davis issued a warning yesterday saying the region will have to shut down the health-care system by March if they don’t get funding. Davis said there are currently 350 patients in Calgary hospitals waiting for beds.

While Calgary has urged for more funding during the middle of the provincial election, Capital Health will continue and run a deficit until meetings can be set with the new government this spring, Buick said.

Yesterday NDP leader Brian Mason said there’s no quick fix for the health woes.

"You can’t erase ten years of neglect in one year. But you can sit down and talk about the issue and make a plan," Mason said.