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In Alberta, health spending represents roughly 35% of the total provincial budget and is outstripping other government programs. As costs continue to escalate, the quality of health service provision, rather than being improved, continues to diminish. Under current structures, reducing the health care budget for publicly delivered and funded healthcare programs and services through drastically cutting programs and services, in effect, further restricts and rations health care services.
Recent changes to health care delivery systems, with the collapse of the regional health authorities and the establishment of the single “Super Board”, acute care bed closures, lay-offs, announcements for closing nursing home beds, cancelled surgeries, the lack of a perceived roll-out plan for H1N1 immunization, withdrawal of previously insured health services, lack of availability of home care, changes in pharmacare have increased the public perception and concern with the delivery and viability of the current health care system.
Albertans are increasingly voicing their concern with access and availability of needed health care services. Health care and the health care system was recently identified as the second most pressing concern for the people of Red Deer as reported in the 2009 Vital Signs, Community Foundation survey and report.
Furthermore, given Alberta’s current economic conditions and its commitment to be out of a deficit spending position within three years, consumers’ fears about both the cost of health care and its quality continue to escalate.
The current health care delivery system and the Canada Health Act foster a sense of broad entitlement which results in a lack of accountability and responsibility at all levels. Strict adherence to the outdated Canada Health Act is negatively impacting the ability of the province to ensure that Albertans have access to the health services they deserve.
Sustainability will require leadership and strategies, not simply cost-cutting rationing. The strategies implemented by the Health Services Board, under the direction of the Government of Alberta, in effect rations medically necessary services, and health services that promote wellness. This strategy, while good for the health budget, directly impacts the health of Albertans and economic prosperity. It is a short-term solution with long-term consequences. Unless significant systemic changes are made within the Health Act as a whole and Alberta’s model of delivery, its unsustainable nature will lead to its implosion.
Consequently, the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce recommends that the Government of Alberta:
December 13, 2013
Chamber Christmas Open House
2:00-4:00pm JA Room, Red Deer Chamber ...
January 8, 2014
Speaker - Jungle Jim Hunter - former member of the "Crazy Canuck Men's Alpine Ski Team" Jim Hunter has represented Canada in the Winter Olympics and the...
January 16, 2014
Brian Kruger - Goverment of Alberta, Employment Standards Red Deer Lodge & Conference Centre ...