Byelection an opportunity to focus on solving health-care issues in southeastern Alberta
This guest column appeared in the Medicine Hat News on October 13.
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.
More panels only further delay action for health care system in crisis
Today, Health Minister Jason Copping held a press conference to announce the UCP government’s “Modernizing Alberta’s Primary Health Care System” (MAPS) plan, with the help of three new advisory panels with a mandate to report back with recommendations in Spring 2023.
“After months of ignoring calls for urgent action on an urgent situation, the government has announced three impending panels, without all of the chairs picked, let alone other panel members in place,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “Rather than announcing ever more advisory panels, the government should be fulfilling its responsibility to provide quality, timely health care to Albertans.”
Health Coalitions denounce for-profit deal by Canadian Blood Services that endangers Canada’s Blood Supply
OTTAWA (the traditional and unceded territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin people) - Canada’s provincial and territorial Health Coalitions and the Canadian Health Coalition call for the resignation of the leadership of the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) including the CEO and Board of Directors. This call comes after the appalling decision by CBS to sign a 15-year agreement with a for-profit international pharmaceutical firm to collect plasma.
Expansion of private surgeries puts profits before patients yet again
Today, Jason Kenney and Health Minister Jason Copping announced that they were expanding private chartered surgeries in Alberta, and that Alberta Health Services has released two Request for Proposals (RFP) for contractors to open two private surgical facilities in the province.
“This has never been about improving access or expanding capacity,” says Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “This government has shown over and over that their myopic pursuit of supposed 'savings' will always trump what’s best for patients and their families. At the end of the day, this is about securing more profits for private health care operators.”
Overdose Awareness Day Reminder That Alberta Must do Better on Drug Poisoning Crisis
Government of Alberta data shows that at least 1557 Albertans have been lost to an overdose since this time last year.
August 31 marks International Overdose Awareness Day, a day to “end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.”
“This year we will mourn hundreds more Albertans who we have lost to the ongoing drug poisoning crisis. These are not just statistics, but our friends, family, neighbours and community members,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “Each loss is a painful story for the loved ones left behind. We must pause to remember each of them, and then rededicate ourselves to fighting for change for the living.”
Opinion: It's past time to fix health-care closures and short-staffing in Alberta
This Op-Ed by FOM's Executive Director, Chris Gallaway, originally appeared in the Edmonton Journal on August 20, 2022.
Recent announcements of an urgent-care hours reduction in Airdrie, the temporary emergency department closure in Hardisty, and the obstetrics closure in Fort Saskatchewan are just the latest examples of the bed and unit closures which are rampant throughout our health-care system this summer.
Albertans are Right to be Concerned About Access to Abortion and Reproductive Health Services
Recent responses from Alberta politicians make it clear Alberta isn’t immune from the politics that seek to roll back the right to choose.
The recent decision by the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade has put a spotlight on the right to choose and access abortion services here in Canada, leading many Albertans to worry.
“While the US Supreme Court decision doesn’t directly change any laws here, Albertans are right to be concerned,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “The comments many Alberta politicians have been making since this court decision make it clear that there is a coordinated political movement seeking to roll back the right to choose here.”
Another Day, Another Privatization Announcement from the UCP Government
When negotiations are concluded, Alberta Health Services will go from contracting out 40% of retail food services in Calgary and Edmonton to 100%.
Albertans Will be Watching for Public Health Care Solutions at UCP Leadership Candidates' Debate Tonight
The first official UCP leadership debate is this evening in Medicine Hat, topics include Leadership and Unity, Health care, and the Economy and the Environment.
Under Jason Kenney, the UCP government’s record 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.