I’m always delighted when I see an email from the PC Party in my inbox – especially over the last several months. Recently I have especially noticed the importance the Party Executive, and the Party Leader, Ed Stelmach, have put on being open and transparent with their party members and the public. They are making sure we are informed and a part of the process.
This email was sent this afternoon at about 3:30pm. We wanted to share.
“A Special Health Care Message” right from the PC Leader. No media spin, no opposition spin, and no spin from those of us chirping on twitter.
I’m especially impressed with his promise of 600 more continuing care beds by March 31, 2011. That is only 4 months away – and after chatting with a doctor friend of @ppilarski and mine over the weekend I believe this will help dramatically. She explained, through her firsthand experience, that more continuing care beds and a stronger home care system will alleviate some of the ER stress.
Looking forward to the continued communication from the PC Leader and for the additional information he committed to providing in the coming weeks.
Subject: Health Care Message
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2010 15:27:13 -0700
Alot has been said on the state of our health care system in Alberta over the last few days, and given the many calls and e-mails coming in to the PC Alberta office recently, we thought that it was important to provide you with a report on what is actually taking place in health.
First, we want to make it clear that despite the claims that the system is in crisis, our emergency rooms are open and front line staff continue to deliver the services Albertans require.
Yes, ER waiting times have been recognized as being too long, which is why a number of initiatives were put in place in recent months, like new emergency department protocols and the opening of 81 additional acute care beds in Edmonton and Calgary over the next three months to create new surge capacity. In addition, new primary care networks have been set up across the province.
In total there are now 38 of these networks and more will be added to the system soon. About two million Albertans now have access to health care services through these innovative networks.
We have also established a five-year funding plan for health services that will provide the stability needed in the system to deliver better care. This funding is supporting 800 new continuing care beds and will provide at least 600 more beds by March 31, 2011. These dollars will also contribute to the expansion of the Alberta Health Services home care program that is supporting 900 more high-needs home care clients in Calgary and Edmonton.
Unfortunately, all these positive initiatives have been overshadowed by the personal distractions of the last few weeks. Decisions such as the suspension of a caucus colleague are always difficult and taken very seriously.
During this time, caucus offered great compassion and support to Dr. Sherman for the pressures he faced as a physician and as a member of Government Caucus. Ultimately, while we respect and welcome constructive debate and advocacy, we have to ensure that it is done for the best interest of Albertans.
This is true in caucus and it is also true on the Alberta Health Services leadership team. That’s why we support their decision to appoint interim chief executive officer, Dr. Chris Eagle, and we remain committed to our goal of creating the best performing health-care system in the country and reducing emergency room wait times.
Next week you will see more information about Alberta’s health care action plan. This plan outlines the initiatives that we will undertake and the performance measures that will highlight our progress to becoming the best-performing public funded health care system in Canada.
Finally I want to recognize and thank all health care professionals who continue to deliver necessary health services to you and your families.