Devin Dreeshen, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA. (Advocate file photo.) Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Devin Dreeshen said a lot of people are interested in the report on Alberta Health Services and how long it will take to implement the recommendations. (Contributed photo)

Putting more money toward Red Deer hospital may not be the total answer, says MLA

Searching for efficiencies and better health care

Alberta’s health care needs to be reformed, instead of putting more money into the current system, says a central Alberta MLA.

A report released Monday, ordered by Alberta Health to find efficiencies in the system, had 57 recommendations to cut provincial health care costs by $1.9 billion per year.

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Devin Dreeshen said it’s not just about cost savings, “but actually at the end of the day, just providing better health care, better service, to Albertans.”

He said Alberta spends more per capita on health care than most provinces, and wait times are not the best.

This week, Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre did not have enough beds and was forced to put overcapacity protocols into action that included transferring patients to other facilities.

Thirty patients were waiting for emergency surgery.

Dreeshen said if beds are being filled with patients who don’t need to be there, the system gets bogged down.

Recommendations in the review included looking at alternative service delivery. Some people need to be in a hospital. Others could be served at other types of facilities.

Health care could be funded by both private and public investment, Dreeshen said.

“To have one large hospital isn’t the answer in a lot of cases. Having a private system, that’s funded publicly, with equal access and universal access for everyone, is an interesting concept.

“Look at other provinces across Canada that have more of those types of clinics, and they have better wait times,” Dreeshen said.

He said Red Deer hospital is a great facility, but the system needs to change.

“We’re not getting what we pay for, so we want to make sure to find those efficiencies, as well as keep the health budget the same. It’s already locked in for over $20 billion a year for the next three years, so we’re spending the money.

“We’re making sure the funding is available. But at the end of the day, we want to make sure that we’re actually getting the results for that investment.”

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