Government announcement on hospital pressure relief continues privatization agenda

Today the Alberta Government made its announcement on relieving the pressures on hospitals. The announcement included the discovery of 464 previously-closed beds, which are now scheduled to be re-opened over the next year.

"This announcement confirms the current government's gross mismanagement of our health care system," says Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. "It is clear that Premier Prentice and Minister Mandel are simply reversing a series of bad decisions made by their own party. It feels like déjà vu from Premier Redford's 2012 promise to build more continuing care beds. What we specifically need are long-term care beds to deal with the acuity and complexity of care required by those waiting in hospitals for long-term care placement."

Also included in the announcement was a Request for Proposals (RFPs) process for the allocation of $60 million in Affordable Supportive Living Initiative (ASLI) funding.

"The only thing that was clear from this announcement was that the government will continue on their path of privatizing seniors' care," added Azocar.

The announcement also includes a review of home care, a program that was already reviewed last summer, following the mess that was made in the consolidation of 72 home care agencies into 18.

"We hope the review will look at providing more resources for home care in the public system, rather than the government continuing to hand out contracts to for-profit corporations," says Azocar.

Friends of Medicare is calling for long-term solutions to the issue of long-term care. We need to stop making Albertans suffer by being kept away from their families and communities. We need to stop privatizing long-term care; it should be included under the public health care umbrella. The government must stop divesting from its responsibility to provide care for those who built our province and those Albertans who are too sick to have a voice in their policies.