EDMONTON, AB (November 21, 2013): While executives at the University of Calgary have $8 million to spend on office renovations for senior executives, a fifty year old kitchen at the Foothills Medical Centre (FMC) infested with mould and asbestos and facing public health citations continues to be ignored by the PC government, Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said today.
Last spring, the Wildrose obtained an AHS capital submission listing renovations at the FMC kitchen as a high priority, saying if the project is not approved it risks staff safety and closure of the kitchen. Currently, the kitchen provides almost a thousand patients meals, served three times a day, every day of the year. AHS’ 2013 capital submission obtained through FOIP shows the government has not made any progress or even a commitment to renovate the kitchen. Notably, the government blocked the section listing risk of non-approval, a practice not done for previous years. “There are a thousand patients who rely on food services from this kitchen every day. It’s inexplicable why the government is failing to make this a higher priority when AHS is saying that this project is imperative,” Forsyth said. “Albertans deserve better from their health care system. This is about ensuring the patients who rely on these services to be guaranteed the high quality care they deserve.” A recent Auditor General’s report once again highlighted the fact that the government must improve the process to evaluate proposed infrastructure projects, a recommendation that has been brushed off for over six years. Wildrose Infrastructure Critic Drew Barnes said the urgent need for renovations at the FMC kitchen shows the need for a public priority list. “We see the government spend $350 million on new offices for MLAs and bureaucrats, while there are leaky school roofs and mould in our hospitals,” Barnes said. “This is about priorities, and until this government gets that, everyday Albertans relying on critical maintenance projects like these will continue to wonder when their priorities are going ahead.”