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Time to spend health care dollars better: Forsyth

CALGARY, AB (November 10, 2014): The latest health care spending figures from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) suggests the PC government is investing in the wrong places and needs to adjust how health care dollars are spent, Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said today.

The report shows Alberta spends 20 per cent above the national average on its health care system and the most of any province besides Newfoundland. However, 2013 wait times data from CIHI shows Alberta lagging behind other provinces and the national average in wait times for key procedures:

 

Benchmark

National avg.

BC

Sask.

Que.

Ont.

Alberta

Knee replacement

182 days

263

258

354

258

216

294

Hip replacement

182 days

230

230

243

239

188

252

Cataract

 

112 days

153

154

179

126

153

212

Lung cancer

 

N/A

49 days

32

20

62

36

85

 

“Alberta spends nearly the most of any province for health care and we’re just not getting the results we should,” Forsyth said, “These figures say to me that we’re getting it all wrong on health care and we have to re-evaluate how our money is spent so we start getting the outcomes we’re looking for.”

The report identifies that Alberta spends 33% above the national average on acute hospital care, but 19% below the national average on long-term care for seniors. Forsyth said this is a major reason for the system’s dysfunction and needs to be addressed immediately.

“It costs 10 times more to treat a patient in an acute care bed than in a long-term care bed, and that’s exactly why Wildrose has a plan to re-allocate more existing health care dollars into long-term care,” Forsyth said. “Clearly, the solution is not simply to spend more money. It’s spending money on the right things.”