Recently there have been editorials and comments about the decision of Alberta Hospital Services to give more autonomy to five regions to make decisions closer to where they will impact people.
Generally this has been well accepted with a certain amount of “ I told you so” in the debate of central versus local administration of services.
Hopefully it will put a stop to the endless approvals needed in the long chain of command on the way to that elusive goal of getting things done at the ground level.
However, this new level of management being created will answer to Alberta Health Services and not to the communities they make decisions for. Real accountability only comes from elected representatives —- a process our government abandoned years ago.
It is encouraging to have evidence that Alberta Health Services is listening.
However, I would like to bring attention to another serious issue. In the Advocate of May 11th, there is a letter to the residents of Michener Hill Extendicare and their families from the Alberta Union Provincial employees informing them of a possible strike.
A little history will connect the dots on this issue. Most of the staff involved were employees of Alberta Heath Services in the former Red Deer Nursing Home and Valley Park Manor that now sit empty at the will of the government. In order to obtain employment, they gave up their seniority and took a decrease in income to obtain work at Extendicare.
What they are asking for are wages and benefits consistent with what they had with their previous employer. That does not seem unreasonable.
So what is the obstacle? It is a six letter word — PROFIT. Money is being moved from the pockets of those who do the actual work caring for our seniors to those who make an investment in senior care services as a commodity for an expected profit. The bottom line becomes a factor and those who receive and give the care have to live with the consequences.
As a society, we are faced with this question: Is long-term care a social responsibility to be received as it is needed or something to be brought and sold on the open market? Our decisions will effect everyone who hopes to be a senior one day.
Brenda D. Corney
Red Deer Advocate
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