Friends of Medicare is concerned about the United Conservative’s approach to refocusing the health care system. The organization is a non-profit coalition of seniors’ organizations, labour organizations, cultural, faith, and community groups as well as physicians and patients.
“Danielle Smith has repeatedly talked about more local control in health care as cover for her transformative changes to the system, but today’s announcement does nothing but tweak local advisory councils, it's not about local input into health care,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “Instead what we are seeing is a destructive plan for restructuring and causing more chaos in our public health care system. Albertans should be very concerned about today’s announcement.”
The organization highlighted the failure with privatizing lab services with DynaLife. In late August, Health Minister and MLA for Red Deer North Adriana LaGrange announced the lab operations would be transferring all staff and operations to Alberta Precision Laboratories by the end of 2023.
The Alberta Government’s most recent announcement would see the health care system split up into four key areas including Primary Care, Acute Care, Continuing Care, and Mental Health and Addiction.
Friends of Medicare claim the changes won't address access, capacity, and staffing challenges and worries for the outcome of previous promises.
“We’ve seen nothing about getting the new hospitals for Red Deer or South Edmonton built, nothing to help retain the health care workers currently in the system, nothing about training or recruiting more doctors, nurses and other health care professionals into the system,” said Gallaway. “When asked about building needed hospitals and acute care beds, or fixing widespread short staffing, the Premier and Health Minister relied on buzzwords and vague promises of restructuring over the next year and a half. It’s clear they don’t understand the current crisis or the solutions we need.”