Premier Hancock says patient safety secure despite clinic plan rollback

Alberta Premier Dave Hancock says patients won’t suffer if the province doesn’t meet its target of 140 new family care clinics.

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Dave Hancock says patients won’t suffer if the province doesn’t meet its target of 140 new family care clinics.

Hancock says there’s no need to duplicate facilities as long as primary-care networks can do the job of family-care clinics.

He says primary care has evolved to cover some of the areas that were expected to be handled by family clinics.

The idea for family health centres came in 2012 from former premier Alison Redford, who wanted to deliver more front-line care and reduce loads on hospital waiting rooms.

Primary-care networks are run privately by doctors, while family-care clinics are overseen by community boards.

There are 12 family clinics in place or in development compared with 42 primary-care networks.

Health Minister Fred Horne announced Thursday that the government is spending $45 million to start up nine family-care centres. He said the plan for 140 such clinics had been “overly ambitious.”