EDMONTON — Yesterday, Premier Danielle Smith announced a widely condemned new policy that includes putting new restrictions on gender-affirming health care. The new policy infringes on the rights of young Albertans and their families to access the health care services they need, when they need them.
“Access to health care is a human right. Every Albertan deserves to feel safe and free of discrimination when accessing health care, and the care they receive should come on the basis of the best medical evidence, not politics and ideology,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. "The policy the Premier announced yesterday is clearly discriminatory, and a political attack on gender-affirming health care, which is already sorely lacking in Alberta. Enacting these new barriers will put the health and safety of trans, non-binary and gender diverse young people at further risk."
“Our politicians shouldn’t be unilaterally implementing policy to dictate what health care services Albertans can and cannot access," continued Gallaway. "Health care decisions should be between patients and their doctors. The Premier reaching in to set health policy like this is setting a dangerous new precedent which should be of deep concern to all Albertans.”
The Premier’s announcement comes at a time when Albertans are increasingly worried about access to the health care they need, as a widespread short staffing crisis continues to impact every single part of our health care system. Hundreds of thousands of people in our province still don’t have a family doctor, children’s cancer treatments are being delayed, dozens of facilities across the province are still facing long wait times and repeated temporary closures, and over half of Alberta’s doctors are currently considering leaving the Alberta health care system.
In response to these challenges, Friends of Medicare has been urgently calling on the provincial government to get serious about workforce planning in health care. But we have seen no meaningful action to protect our health care system or improve access for patients.
“Alberta desperately needs our government to be laser focused on a frontline workforce strategy to tackle the health care staffing crisis," said Gallaway. "Instead, we’re seeing the Premier pandering to transphobia, hate and division as a distraction from her government’s record on health care. It’s absolutely shameful."
"Such regressive and far reaching political interference into the ability to provide patient care risks even more doctors and health care professionals deciding it’s time to leave the Alberta health care system, at a time when we most need to be retaining everyone that we can," concluded Gallaway.
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