EDMONTON, AB (June 21, 2012): The PC government continues to deceive Albertans with their desperate last-minute election promise of 140 new family care clinics, Wildrose MLAs said today. Today, Health Minister Fred Horne stated that 140 promised facilities will be in addition to the Primary Care Networks (PCN) already in place.
He was clear in saying the Family Care Clinics will not replace PCNs. "It’s going to be a collaborative process. It’s not going to duplicate, or substitute, or replace. It’s about building on what we have,” Horne said. However, the PCs also maintain they will not spend one additional dime on these 140 new clinics, claiming they will be paid for out of existing health care dollars. "Premier Redford must believe Albertans are pretty dumb. She expects us to believe she can build 140 health care facilities, hire more health workers to staff them, and keep all existing Primary Care Networks without spending any additional money?” Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said. “She needs to just be honest: Either she plans on shutting down existing PCNs and family clinics in order to pay for these government run clinics, or she is going to have to find more money to build new and fully staffed facilities – which one is it?” The government’s own numbers say the cost of building and operating 140 government-run clinics would be $3.4 billion. By stating that these facilities will be funded within the existing health budget, 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 addition, Redford also said PC MLAs will spend the summer “consulting” with Albertans about health care, holding sessions across Alberta that are closed to MLAs in opposition constituencies. “This is a slap in the face to 714,000 (56%) of Albertans who didn’t vote for her party and the 26 constituencies who chose not to have a PC MLA,” Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle said. “Wildrose, Liberal and NDP MLAs are elected to represent our communities, just like PC MLAs are. For us to be shut out of this process is an insult to our constituents and to the well over half of Albertans that did not vote PC. Is this what Redford meant when she campaigned on more open and transparent government?”