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WILDROSE PLEDGE #4: Alberta’s Patient Wait Time Guarantee

Strengthening our public health care system by providing care when its needed April 5, 2012 (Calgary, AB): Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith unveiled the fourth Wildrose Pledge today: Alberta’s Patient Wait Time Guarantee. Through the Patient Wait Time Guarantee, a Wildrose government will ensure Albertans have access to the quality health services they need, when they need them, regardless of their ability to pay. 

Despite unprecedented levels of government funding, Alberta’s health care system is failing families and seniors. Alberta’s hospitals, though staffed by talented and dedicated doctors and nurses, are increasingly burdened by excessive government red tape and bureaucracy. It is becoming harder to find a family doctor, the time it takes to see a specialist remains far too long, and emergency room waits are growing longer. “The Wildrose Alberta Patient Wait Time Guarantee means an end to Albertans languishing too long in healthcare queues in pain and in danger,” Smith said. “It means our public health system will be strengthened by introducing choice and competition, empowering local hospitals to make decisions, and putting an end to the queue jumping and bureaucratic paralysis that have been shameful hallmarks of healthcare under the PCs.” The Alberta Patient Wait Time Guarantee will:

  • Ensure that Albertans on wait lists exceeding the Canadian Wait Time Alliance Benchmark for 10 major procedures are reimbursed by Alberta Health Insurance at the in-province rate if they need to have those essential procedures performed outside the province’s public health system.
  • Add capacity and encourage competition in our health system by allowing a mix of public and private health care delivery, as long as it remains publicly funded and universally delivered in accordance with the Canada Health Act.
  • Implement a Protection of Public Health Care Guarantee that commits the Government to increase the number of publicly insured health procedures and treatments performed in Alberta until the clinically acceptable wait time benchmarks established by the Canadian Wait Time Alliance are achieved.
  • Provide openness and accountability in Alberta’s health care system by publishing wait times for all publicly-insured health services at all Alberta hospitals and clinics.

The estimated cost of the Alberta Patient Wait Time Guarantee is $180 million annually. Albertans are demanding real health care reform, where patients and their needs are the top priority. By guaranteeing access to medical services within clinically acceptable wait times, the Wildrose Pledge will put Albertans first and make sure they have access to world-class health care when they need it. Technical briefings on this policy are available, please contact Heather Hume who will be happy to arrange.