Airdrie Health Foundation receives $20,000 from City
By: Matt Durnan
| Posted: Thursday, Feb 06, 2014 11:24 am
The Airdrie Health Foundation (AHF) got a huge boost of support in the form of a $20,000 contribution from the City on Feb. 3.
AHF board members have been leading the charge to lobby the Province for a 24-hour healthcare facility in Airdrie.
Through monthly meetings and work by the foundation’s three subcommittee members are charged with increasing doctor attraction and retention, partnering with community groups and the provincial government and attaining funding.
AHF Vice Chair Michelle Bates spoke to council on Feb. 3 about the need for funding, while highlighting the health care challenges in the city.
“Airdrie has been lacking in healthcare and it is one of the biggest priorities for all residents,” said Bates. “We currently have nine clinics, one urgent care centre and the Highland Primary Care Network, but none of these are 24-hour facilities.”
Members of the AHF met with Alberta Health Services (AHS) earlier in the day on Feb. 3 and according to Mayor Peter Brown, who also chairs the AHF, it was the most productive meeting they’ve had to date.
“This was the first time that we’ve met with the executives from AHS,” said Brown.
“We have their ear, they’re listening and they acknowledge our challenges.”
The funding request from AHS was wholeheartedly supported by Brown and members of council.
“It’s critical that we take this forward and this is a great example of bringing ordinary people together to make something extraordinary happen,” said Alderman Allan Hunter who is a board member with AHF.
“I know how important 24-hour healthcare is and I will keep supporting this until we cut the ribbon on a new building.”
The $20,000 funding will be pulled from the City’s corporate contingency fund and will be allotted to the AHF as follows; $4,000 for a communication/marketing plan, $2,500 for web design, $2,500 for board expenses, and $11,000 for preliminary site and concept design.
While a brand new healthcare facility has not been approved by the Province, Brown said that the first goal is to have the existing urgent care facility open for longer hours as it is a service that is long overdue.
According to the AHS, the number of patients that would use a 24-hour facility in Airdrie is below the threshold to accommodate a new facility.
“To have a city of 50,000 people and not have this service is a challenge,” contradicted Brown.
“Our residents shouldn’t have to drive 20 minutes north or south of the city to get to a healthcare facility after 10 p.m.”
As this is an ongoing project, Bates says that AHF plans to get future funding through fundraising, and community and business sponsorships to go toward a new facility that would house physician offices, specialists, community clinics and a new urgent care centre with more diagnostics and overnight beds.
“I admire the passion of Michelle and the AHF to attract people to make things happen,” said Alderman Kelly Hegg.
“This is a valuable start and this is seed money for you guys to get things rolling.”