Stollery to Eliminate Nurse Coordinator at the Edmonton Down Syndrome Medical Clinic

Friends of Medicare has learned that on October 10, 2012, officials at the Stollery Children's Hospital were directed that due to financial constraints they have been forced to eliminate the Nurse Coordinator position at the Edmonton Down Syndrome Medical Clinic.  This budgetary decision effectively closes the Edmonton Down Syndrome Medical Clinic.  "With no Nurse coordinator, health services for children with Down Syndrome in Edmonton and northern Alberta will be significantly impacted in a negative way," says Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. "Children with Down syndrome can have complex health needs and require the type of coordinated medical services that this clinic provides.  Families are very concerned about the health of their children," states Azocar.

From 2008 - 2011 the Nurse Coordinator position relied on funding from the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society, and it was not until February of 2011 that AHS recognized that the services provided by the Nurse coordinator are not 'value-added services' but rather essential health services. The elimination of this position follows a disturbing trend of a reduction of essential health services to kids with Down syndrome in Edmonton and Calgary, and services in smaller centres are virtually non-existent.

"Health services for children and their families in this province should not have to rely on the ability of organizations or individuals to fundraise," says Azocar.  "This is far from being a sustainable funding model for our healthcare system. Alberta's experience has been that the more we try to save money on healthcare by cutting corners, cutting services, and offloading to the private sector, the more problems we create in the long run. When we diminish access to health services we diminish our commitment to equality for all."

Friends of Medicare is calling on the Alberta Government and AHS to provide ongoing sustainable and dependable public funds to the Edmonton Down Syndrome Medical Clinic so that children with Down Syndrome can continue to receive publicly-delivered and needs-appropriate essential health services. We also call on the Alberta Government and AHS to confirm its commitment to our bedrock value of equal access to health care based on need and not on ability to pay.  All children in this province deserve health services.

  • Albertans are encouraged to go to - Support Alberta's children by signing the online petition and joining the letter writing campaign.

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Sandra Azocar
Executive Director
Friends of Medicare