Health Care, Private Care, EMS and Family Clinics

 

People in Livingstone Macleod have made it clear to me that being able to access the health care they want and need when they want and need it is a critical priority for them and their families. The problem is, despite massive annual increases in health spending, the system often fails to meet the needs of Albertans. Waiting lists are at all time highs, patients are left languishing in emergency rooms for hours and sometimes days, finding a family physician is increasingly difficult, and many seniors find it impossible to secure the care they need. Health care outcomes in Alberta continue to decline

The provincial Progressive Conservatives’ centralization of health care has been a disaster, from dismantling Emergency Medical Services delivery in rural communities, to bullying and disempowering front line health care professionals, to destroying the quality of food in local hospitals and long term care facilities, while they have squandered millions of dollars on executive salaries and bonuses, despite chronic underperformance and missed targets. The Superboard bureaucracy is unresponsive to local needs.

PCNs seem like a good model.  But the lack of information about their performance and outcomes is staggering. The Auditor General said the government set five objectives for the PCNs years ago, but never developed targets and measures to determine whether objectives are met.

The Government of Alberta’s per person health care spending is among the highest of all the provinces, and health care consumes more than 40% of the provincial budget.  That proportion continues to increase every year. Clearly, this is not a sustainable approach. It’s a public policy challenge that needs to be addressed immediately, or health care expenditures will begin to erode other essential public services such as education, social services, policing and first responders, and environmental protection.

Premier Redford announced plans to create 140 new “Family Care Clinics” in the spring election campaign. As far as anyone understands, they are intended to perform essentially the same services as Primary Care facilities, but totally under the auspices of the Alberta Health Services Superboard.  When the Premier made this irresponsible Hail Mary election promise, both the Alberta Medical Association and the College of Family Physicians warned that more major restructuring of the health care system would be disastrous and that the three trial Family Care Clinics that currently exist need time to operate before going down a road to set up 137 more with no consultation with health care professionals.  But this isn’t a surprise.  Unfortunately, it is the PC pattern on health care: centralize operations into cumbersome bureaucracies at ever increasing cost with no consultation and no confirmation that Albertans are actually getting the care and services they need.

We all deserve better.  Wildrose has been clear about our proposals to fix health care in a sustainable way for all Albertans.  We would work with front line health care workers to ensure health care decision making is local, responsive, effective, and patient-centred, and that wait times for specialists, procedures and emergency room care are significantly decreased.  We would ensure Albertans are getting value for health care expenditures and receive the care they need when they need it.   As your MLA, I will continue to push the government to make Alberta’s health care system work for you and your family