New AB Premier must take urgent action on public health care system in crisis

New AB Premier must take urgent action on public health care system in crisis

Red Deer Emergency Room wait time of 18 hours is the latest of many crises facing our health care system

Tomorrow the UCP will elect a new leader, and thus a new Premier for Alberta. This is happening at a time when our public health care system is facing a series of overlapping crises, and doctors, health care workers and Albertans have been increasingly vocal on the urgent need for immediate action.

“Our public health care system is in crisis. We cannot wait any longer for the government to take action,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “No matter who wins the leadership tomorrow, Albertans need a Premier willing to change course and immediately prioritize saving and rebuilding our public health care system.”

Wait times of up to 18 hours at the Red Deer Emergency Room is just the latest of many crises pummeling Alberta’s already overwhelmed health care system. Over 30 communities are facing recurring temporary health facility closures, our EMS continues to experience constant red alerts, wait times at many ERs have skyrocketed, and thousands of Albertans no longer have access to a family doctor.

“We need immediate action to deal with the widespread short-staffing, worker burnout, and closures impacting our entire public health care system,” said Gallaway. “It is an urgent situation that requires urgent action, including a workforce plan to retain the health care workers that we currently have, recruit new ones into the system and train those we need for the years ahead.”

The record of Jason Kenney’s UCP government has been one of anti-evidence and ideological decision-making, with short-sighted decisions that fail to consider the downstream health costs or impacts on the health care system. They have consistently prioritized an agenda of privatization ahead of improving patient care, whether it’s surgeries, community labs, EMS, ophthalmology, seniors care, home care, or schemes to send surgeons and their patients out of province

“The Kenney Government has consistently prioritized the interests of private, for-profit industry over the care Albertans need. Yet we have seen little from the leadership candidates to suggest that they intend to change course to protect and strengthen our vital public health care system,” concluded Gallaway. ”Whether in this leadership race or in the coming provincial election, Albertans deserve a Premier who will put the public interest first.”

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