Health council seats a hot commodity

Albertans in Red Deer, Edmonton and Calgary regions are clamouring to become members of regional health advisory councils that will provide public input to Alberta Health Services.

Albertans in Red Deer, Edmonton and Calgary regions are clamouring to become members of regional health advisory councils that will provide public input to Alberta Health Services.

More than 250 people submitted their names to join the three 10-to-15-member councils prior to the Aug. 14 deadline. The councils will represent the three regions.

About a third of those applications were for the Red Deer and area council, representing the former David Thompson and East Central health regions.

The submission deadline for nine other regional councils was extended to Sept. 18 because fewer people applied in the rural areas where residents said they were too busy this summer to respond, said Lynn Redford, vice-president of community engagement with Alberta Health Services.

“We knew it would be challenging over the summer. It just happened to be the time frame we had,” Redford said.

A wide variety of people have applied and every person who applies will be interviewed, she said.

“We’ve got people from First Nations and Metis communities, people who have been involved in municipal council, people from education — a full range of people and different ages, which is great,” Redford said.

“We’re really happy with the calibre of people.”

The 12 health advisory councils are being developed around the province to replace 59 community health councils that operated under the nine former health regions.

Councils will provide feedback about what is working well within the health care system and suggest areas for improvement and service delivery.

They will also consider quality and safety reports provided by Alberta Health Services and identify issues or trends from a local perspective.

To apply, people must be at least 18, live in the geographic area of their respective council, and have an interest in a broad range of health matters.

Members will be appointed by the AHS board in late October or early December with councils becoming operational by late January.

Councils will meet six times a year.

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