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OPINION: Time to refocus health care

The latest from MLA Jackie Lovely
MLA Jackie Lovely. (Photo submitted)

By Jackie Lovely

MLA Camrose

It’s time to refocus Alberta’s health-care system.

We have heard loud and clear from Albertans that the current system centred on Alberta Health Services is complex and uncoordinated. AHS has evolved beyond its original acute care system mandate and is shouldering a burden it was not intended to carry, and Albertans are facing long wait times and delays to the care they desperately need.

It’s time to refocus on how the system is structured and create a path toward a better system for you and your family.

Alberta’s government announced that we are undertaking a significant refocusing of Alberta Health Services. The new structure will center around four priority sectors: primary care, acute care, continuing care and mental health and addiction. This will ensure Albertans get the health care system that works for them.

During this time, Albertans will continue to access health care services where they normally would and that will not change. You will continue to go to your regular care provider for checkups or general health concerns, a hospital for urgent or emergency care, and mental health and addiction treatment and recovery services will still be available and continuing care or home care will still be available to you or your loved ones.

This change will ensure that you and your family are front of mind for every health decision made.

We know health-care workers are the lifeline of the health-care system. We know we need more doctors, nurses, paramedics and many more health-care workers. Alberta’s government will continue to grow the health care workforce and every frontline job will be protected during this transition.

Our world-class health care workers will be consulted every step of the way; their experience and expertise will help shape Alberta’s refocused health-care system. This will ensure doctors, nurses and other health-care workers have more input and help drive health-care innovation at a local level.

Refocusing the system means that Albertans will have health care that works for them, prioritizes their needs to find a primary care provider, get urgent care without long wait times, and improve access to the best continuing-care options and supports for mental health and addiction.

This collaborative, integrated, province-wide health-care system will improve outcomes for Albertans and empower healt- care workers to deliver quality care across the province.

Alberta’s government is committed to engaging with health-care workers, Albertans, and listening to patients’ input as well. More information about public engagements will be provided as it becomes available.

We also want to hear from Albertans. You are the patients, family members, seniors, and caregivers who use the system each day. Engagement session dates will be regularly updated on Input is valuable as we work toward a better health-care system for all Albertans.