Alberta’s Health Care Sector Needs More Funds not Vague Principles

The Government launched the new Alberta Health Act in the legislature during the time of Halloween.

The Act has still to be passed by the House. The Health Act put forwarded principles such as on time and suitable care, qualitative and safety practices and provision of care without taking into consideration the ability of the patient to pay. The principles are not adhered to in Alberta, which can be judged from the fact that prior to the introduction of the Act, the emergency room doctors were in news for not providing on-time emergency care.

The upheaval that the health care sector is facing in Alberta has been triggered by the Tory Government's long-term plans to privatize health services and funding and to make reductions in expenditure on hospitals and long-term care. The spending on hospitals in 2009 dropped to 12.8% from 44.7% in 1975.

Instead of getting improved health care services, more beds to cater to increasing demand, long term facilities and additional health care professionals, what Alberta is receiving is vague principles that bear no surety to get implanted.

In terms of medical school graduates, Alberta has almost the lowest rank in the OECD. Even then, the funding to Universities was reduced by Tories in the last budget that led to increase in the medical school tuition fees and cut in the vacancies in medical schools.

What Alberta need is to improve its health care services in quality, quantity and safety terms that is possible only with the infusion of more funds, which the Tory Government is reluctant to.