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In Their Own Words: Airdrie MLA candidates explain their positions regarding health care

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  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 11, 2012 05:48 pm

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Joel Steacy - Liberal

The current provincial government has illustrated it is not the best choice to better our healthcare system. By centralizing decision making with a bureaucracy based in Edmonton, the people closest to the issues lack input on how to best manage locally faced challenges.

Airdrie has experienced fantastic growth over the past decade. Unfortunately, the availability of local, urgent care has not kept pace. Our urgent care centre needs to be funded to support 24-hour care. A 30 minute drive to a hospital in Calgary can literally be the difference between life and death.

Every resident deserves a family doctor and wellness team. Preventative, local care will help us maximize our health funding and use emergency departments for emergencies.

Better funded home and long-term care so that seniors and sick Albertans can make use of the best resources that fit their needs. People need compassion and respect. Languishing in the hallway of an overcrowded hospital cannot be tolerated.

Finally, we need to fully understand the challenges faced by our front-line health staff because of political and bureaucratic bullying and threats.

The Liberal Party has an experienced doctor as our leader who understands, and can tackle the challenges.

Rob Anderson - Wildrose

Airdrie needs local access to 24-hour health care, but the PCs failed Health Superboard has no plans to provide it. The Wildrose will gradually dismantle the Superboard and instead provide local communities with stable and predictable long-term funding to build the health facilities we need most – like a 24-hour health clinic. As a community, we must also do more to attract physicians, nurses and other health professionals. Working with local parents, doctors, the mayor and other community leaders, I helped establish the Airdrie Regional Health Care Foundation to help bring 24-hour health services to Airdrie and to assist with the recruitment and retention of physicians and other health professionals. A Wildrose government will also return funding and responsibility back to local municipalities and health boards to deliver front-line health services including EMS. It is my hope that under a Wildrose government, Airdrie will once again enjoy a world-class integrated EMS and fire service. Finally the Wildrose believes that physicians and nurses must be able to advocate for their patients without fear of punishment. That is why we will keep the promise that Premier Redford broke, and call a full public inquiry into the bullying and intimidation of health workers.

Bryan Young - NDP

Canada has a proud tradition and reputation of devotion to the health of every man, woman and child in the nation.

We must do everything we can to ensure Alberta’s families receive the quality health care they deserve.

Lack of funding by past Provincial governments, however, has led to disintegration rather than advancement in this sector.

Accessibility to high-quality services means improvement to the public health care system is needed.

This means we must guarantee access to long-term and home care as well as mental health care staff and spaces.

Especially in a city with exponential growth such as Airdrie there is no reason we shouldn’t have health facilities open 24 hours and available to all citizens.

This issue is not one that falls under the classification of “left-wing” or “right-wing” but rather a unspoken compassion for our fellow Canadian and the trust that when, if ever, they are called upon to help us they would do the same.

Do not subscribe to fear tactics and smear campaigns that will scare you into thinking otherwise, it’s what makes and will continue to make our city, province and nation so great and reputable worldwide.

Kelly Hegg - PC Party

Health care is a vital need for us in Airdrie.

One of the main reasons I ran for Airdrie City council was the fact that we didn’t have a medical facility. The nearest locations were either in Calgary or Didsbury.

A medical emergency hit our son, and we ended up driving first to Didsbury and then finally to The Alberta Childrens’ Hospital in Calgary for emergency treatment, wasting precious minutes for a diagnosis.

We must have an urgent care facility that is available 24-7 – bottom line. The addition of a family care clinic, staffed with multi-disciplinary teams, including mental health professionals, will help take pressure off emergency facilities.

We recognize that good health care is more than treatment but that wellness plays a crucial role in prevention. By investing today, we will save tomorrow. Providing a $500 activity tax credit for both children and seniors, assisting in making both programs and facilities more accessible, is an example of this commitment.

At the end of the day, we want to be assured that our publicly-funded health care system will provide the care where and when we need it. I will work to ensure that happens!

Jeff Willerton - Ind.

The cutbacks in health care in the mid-90s were necessary and long over-due – and totally misdirected. By allowing the bureaucrats to control where the cuts took place it was a given they would remain, and so they did. And thus we have the situation today where 51 per cent of the CHA’s budget, for instance, is consumed by administration according to a report in the Calgary Herald. So another round of cuts is in order, this time in management itself.

Airdrie is a city of 43,000 citizens without 24-hour care. That’s unacceptable, but considering our proximity to Calgary I’m not convinced that we need a hospital. One in Balzac, six minutes away, serving Airdrie, its surrounding environs and north Calgary would probably suffice. And finally the money needs to follow the patient to the health care provider of choice causing those providers, both public and private, to compete for our health care dollars by offering better services and shorter waiting lists. It’s called activity based funding. The Tories have been tinkering with this broken system for decades. Other jurisdictions are providing better services with shorter waiting lists at less cost. In this instance, I think it would be advisable to follow their lead.


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