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Even Horne in the dark on cost of family care clinics

EDMONTON, AB (December 4, 2012): Health Minister Fred Horne’s admission that he has no idea how much the government’s 140 Family Care Clinics will cost is even further evidence of the PC government’s incompetent management of the health care system, Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said today.  

Yesterday, responding to written questions in the house by Forsyth on the projected costs for staffing family care clinics and the budget allocated for these new clinics, Horne responded by saying, “the projected annual cost of staff at individual family care clinics is, in fact, unknown at this time,” and, “the projected future costs over the next four years in their totality… we don’t have that.”  The PCs have insisted since the campaign that family care clinics will be at no extra costs, with Premier Alison Redford insisting during the election campaign that costs will be covered with the existing $3.9-billion primary care budget and through in-year savings.  “The arrogance from the Minister is astounding,” Forsyth said.   “This is just another example of the PCs mismanaging our health care system and showing disrespect to our doctors, promising 140 new family care clinics with no plans to cost them out, no idea how much new staff will cost and completely ignoring the advice of front-line health professionals.”  The estimated cost for each of the three pilot projects being operated in Edmonton and Calgary currently cost $5 million dollars a year, and with a lack of clarity of the true costs of family care clinics, many PCNs and family doctors are left wondering if their own existing practices are on the chopping block or if the government intends on taking over their clinics entirely.  In Question Period today, Forsyth demanded that Horne stop mismanaging precious dollars in our health care system and start divulging the real cost of these clinics.  “To the Minister of Health, are you really now saying you have no idea how much it will cost Albertans to keep this promise, and why weren’t you upfront about it when you made this commitment?” Forsyth asked.