Tory reassurances about health care far from convincing

The Central Alberta Council on Aging has grave concerns about recent government actions on health care in our area.

The Central Alberta Council on Aging has grave concerns about recent government actions on health care in our area.

The publication of a March 31 Alberta Health Services Medical Staff newsletter, outlining health facility closures and downgrades, has created another negative milestone in the Alberta government’s management of health care.

After the Progressive Conservatives first took power in 1971, the Heritage Trust Fund was used to build hospitals in many smaller communities in the province.

Communities have grown to depend on these facilities, which have over time been changed to meet the needs of the population surrounding them.

They have been supported by the communities with fundraising and volunteering. They have provided security for the elderly and ill, and a stable source of employment in the community.

It is no surprise that the Alberta Health Services newsletter, made public on May 14, has caused a wave of concern by Albertans.

The newsletter makes references to a capital master plan for the former David Thompson Health Region.

It says hospitals in Rimbey, Ponoka, Lacombe, Innisfail, Castor, Coronation, Consort, Sundre, Three Hills and Hanna would be turned into “urgent care centres.”

Long-term care facilities in Bentley, Trochu, and Breton will be exited (removed from DTHR funding by some means).

Following on the heels of financial efficiency audit reports, budget challenges and the closure of operating rooms, the complete re-organization of Alberta health care in our province has added to the concerns and has increased the anxiety of many Albertans.

The system is in administrative limbo. All current managers will be asked to reapply for their positions, and the announcement that 100 Alberta Health Services administrative employees will lose their positions adds to the uncertainty and loss of morale.

When asked in question period on May 14, Health Minister Ron Liepert – in a somewhat defensive tone – told members of the opposition that the list of hospitals and health centers set for closure or downsizing in a number of Central Alberta communities was an idea developed by the former David Thompson Health Board and that the idea was rejected by the Province’s new Alberta Health Services board.

When asked why the Alberta Health Services document was dated March 31, Liepert hesitated but said that people should not worry.

“There is nothing that I’m aware of relative to any change in status of any of the facilities around the province,” he said. “And if at some point in time there is, we have committed to any community that where there will be a change in the status of their facility, there would be prior engagement with that community.”

Premier Ed Stelmach did not add much to clarify the issue when he addressed the media.

He said the Health Services Board will tour rural Alberta this summer and consider changes to how medical care is delivered.

His large majority in the legislature and the unco-operative manner of the health minister has made receiving adequate answers to questions in the legislature very difficult.

Concerned Albertans must insist their MLAs act in caucus to ensure their health care needs are met.

The larger urban centres are not immune to the outfall of reduced rural health, as the overflow will surely impact the already stressed resources of the cities.

The government owes affected areas a clear explanation as to what is happening, and we the citizens must make our MLAs accountable.

Remember, the Third Way was defeated by aroused citizens demanding MLA action in caucus. It can be done again.

Sam Denhaan,

President

Central Alberta

Council on Aging

Just Posted

More police presence in Red Deer’s downtown starts this month

“We recognize… that citizens are concerned about safety,” said Mayor Veer

Red Deer RCMP look for fraud suspect

Purse stolen from fitness locker

One strong wind leaves years of replanting work for Red Deer parks staff

High visibility boulevards already replanted, neighbourhood work starts next year

Red Deer-area indigenous filmmakers invited to apply for $20,000 grant

Storyhive launches Indigenous Storyteller Edition

Restaurant closed after compliance team patrol

Public Safety Compliance Team checked eight bars and restaurants on Oct. 19

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Woody Baron co-authors children’s book

TORONTO — Woody Baron finds the spectre of tangling with a hulking… Continue reading

Sundin not surprised Leafs asking stars to take less money to stay together

TORONTO — Mats Sundin isn’t surprised the Toronto Maple Leafs are asking… Continue reading

Anywhere but Washington: Why DC stories rarely film in DC

WASHINGTON — It’s a hobby among District of Columbia locals: Picking apart… Continue reading

‘Halloween’ scares up $77.5 million in ticket sales

LOS ANGELES — Forty years after he first appeared in theatres, Michael… Continue reading

iPhone XR makes the right trade-offs for a cheaper price

NEW YORK — Apple offers you a simple trade-off with its new… Continue reading

BMW to recall 1.6 million vehicles worldwide over fire risk

FRANKFURT — Automaker BMW says it is expanding a recall to cover… Continue reading

Calgary awaits federal financing on 2026, Notley suggests IOC could pay more

CALGARY — With the clock ticking towards a Calgary vote on hosting… Continue reading

Toronto Mayor John Tory cruises to victory; tech issues extend voting elsewhere

Toronto Mayor John Tory easily won re-election on Monday after a spirited… Continue reading

Most Read