Last month a new political party was born. Congratulations to the supporters and people who worked hard to make this happen, we don’t agree on many things but I will give credit where credit is due. But what does this mean for Red Deer? And more specifically, what does it mean for the future of health care in Red Deer and Central Alberta?
A few months ago physicians from the Red Deer Regional Hospital had a meeting that a lot of people attended including my staff, my counterpart MLA Kim Schreiner, and other MLAs who are now part of the UCP. Following that meeting I made a public statement in the house and released a public letter outlining how I hear the concerns of all of those in attendance loud and clear and will continue working with the Minister of Health and Alberta Health Services to make sure that Red Deer moves to the top of the priority list when it comes to health-care funding. We are trying to find a way to make it work and with the recent economic recovery that we are seeing across the province and our projected growth I am hopeful that I can work with our government to make sure Red Deer Regional Hospital is a part of next year’s budget plans but we have to wait and see. Will the 2018 budget address our health-care needs? I’m not sure.
One thing I am sure of is my party and my government ran on a platform of protecting essential services and it’s what we have done and will continue to do. We did it when times were tough and we will keep doing so now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the economic future of this province. Former Central Alberta Wildrose MLAs that were at Diagnosis Critical are now vocally supporting UCP leadership candidates. I implore those same MLAs to offer up to us how they stand in support of expanding hospital services at Red Deer Regional Hospital while at the same time give a nod of approval to a party who so clearly is ready to take a scalpel to the essential services we rely on.
The previous opposition was clamoring for us to cut services to balance the budget when Albertans needed them most. With the UCP’s vision for this province, the prospects of having Red Deer Regional Hospital’s services protected, let alone expanded, would already be dead on the table.
Barb Miller, MLA Red Deer South