Local health-care advocacy group seeking input
The first public input sessions for the Airdrie Regional Health Foundation’s (ARHF) future was held at Genesis Place, Aug. 16.
Two roundtable discussions, held in the morning and evening, were put on by the Highland Primary Care Network (HPCN), to garner input from residents about their health care experiences and what they want health-care services in Airdrie to look like in the future.
“We need a vision, a sense of what we are after, what we want,” said Joe MacGillivray, HPCN’s executive director. “We want the discussion to be broad.”
The discussion was attended by Mayor Peter Brown and several residents, all of whom shared personal stories about their experiences with the region’s health-care system, including area hospitals and Airdrie’s Urgent Care Centre. Attendees also shared their vision of long-term solutions to frustrations.
Brown said health care was a central focus in the 2010 election.
“In Alberta we are the only city that doesn’t have 24-hour access (to health care) or a hospital of any type,” he said. “Access to 24-hour health care, that’s been our No. 1 issue.”
The ARHF was created after longtime resident Michelle Bates shared her concern over Airdrie’s lack of health-care services with Mayor Peter Brown and MLA Rob Anderson in December 2010.
The committee, made up of local politicians, business people, residents and medical professionals, was formed in September 2011.
Bates said the foundation is eager to hear residents’ vision for the future of health care in Airdrie.
“We want to hear their stories and what their vision is,” said Bates. “It is what we want as a community.”
Bates said the HPCN will provide a report, summarizing common themes shared by residents during public discussions, to the ARHF sometime this fall.
The foundation’s ultimate goal, Bates said, is improving health care in the city.
She said she would like to see 24-hour emergency care available in Airdrie. She added that desire is echoed by many in the city.
Bates said a number of residents have expressed their desire to have more services available, adding Airdrie is one of the largest Alberta communities not serviced by a hospital.
“We are a city, we need what we need,” said Bates. “We don’t need Calgary’s sloppy seconds. Common sense has to prevail at some point.”
Bates said she is also frustrated at the changes to Airdrie’s ambulance services.
“Alberta Health Services response times are unacceptable,” said Bates. “If you have only minutes, those minutes sitting on Deerfoot Trail could mean your life. As someone who has lost someone, it’s not acceptable.”
The HPCN will be hosting another roundtable discussion group on Aug. 28 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the Echo Room at Genesis Place. Residents are encouraged to attend.
For more information or to register for a discussion, contact Lisa Froehlich, HPCN’s executive assistant at 403-860-3896 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org