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Overdue: Time for Prentice to deliver on promise of rural health care report

CALGARY, AB (January 23, 2015): Premier Jim Prentice needs to release the overdue Rural Health Care report immediately, decentralize health care decision making to local boards, and get moving on the significant challenges facing our health care system in communities across Alberta, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

On Sept. 22 Prentice told Albertans that he had appointed a rural health care panel to create a report within 90 days, telling the public, “We need to see practical and tangible solutions that can be implemented without delay.” The report is over a month delayed. 

“Mr. Prentice promised immediate action, instead all Albertans have seen are big promises without any meaningful changes. The report is now weeks overdue, and many health care professionals and Albertans are waiting for a response,” Forsyth said. “The issues facing Albertans in our rural communities are obvious, it’s time to get to work.”

For years, the Wildrose has advocated for more decentralized decision making, creating a prioritized infrastructure list for hospital maintenance and putting an end to the government’s policy that separates families in need of nursing care by up to 80 km from their loved ones.

Wildrose MLA Pat Stier said the need for a more responsive and effective ambulance system that empowers local communities continues to be a top priority for many residents across rural Alberta.

“For years, smaller communities have been watching the PC government slowly centralize and dismantle local and effective ambulance delivery,” Stier said. “We have a lot of work to improve our rural health care system, and if Mr. Prentice is serious about getting that work done, it’s time to release that report.”