AG report casts more doubt on family care clinics

EDMONTON, AB (July 4, 2012): The Wildrose Official Opposition is calling for an immediate halt to the Redford government’s Family Care Clinics initiative after the Auditor General reported today that the government has no information on whether or not Primary Care Networks are working. 

The AG reported that both the Health department and the Superboard don’t have the systems to “evaluate the PCN program and demonstrate that their current efforts are bringing the province-wide benefits envisioned for this initiative.”

Despite this lack of information, the Redford government continues to forge ahead with a $3-billion restructuring of primary care through the establishment of 140 Family Care Clinics. 

Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said the government should immediately follow up on the AG’s recommendations to objectively measure PCN effectiveness before proceeding with FCCs. 

“The government might be fixing what isn’t even broken,” Smith said. “It’s reckless and irresponsible to proceed with this massive restructuring without even knowing what the current situation is. We should know whether or not Primary Care Networks are working before overhauling the system.” 

The Family Care Clinics initiative has come under fire from doctors for being unproven and having the potential to disrupt the current PCN model, which delivers primary health care to 2.9 million Albertans.

The AG also noted that despite the absence of performance measures, his office noted “many examples of positive outcomes and good practices” at PCNs. 

“It is typical of this government to rush through big changes to the health care system with no consultation or regard for the facts,” Smith said. “They did it with the Superboard and now they’re doing it with primary care. Let’s get the facts before we throw the health care system and Alberta patients into more chaos.”