Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

Major changes to Alberta's health system will begin in ;2024

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Premier Danielle Smith has acknowledged that the health system is not adequately meeting the needs of Albertans. (File photo taken at the Health Management press conference on November 8, 2023 in Edmonton)

Radio-Canada

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In 2024, Premier Danielle Smith plans to put a scalpel on the province's health system while simultaneously efforts are made to attract and retain family physicians.

We won't be able to solve front-line problems without a major reorganization [of Alberta Health Services], she said.

Our nurses are burned out after two years and are leaving our [health] system. Our paramedics last five years on average. Doctors have reduced their [consultations] and not enough are going to primary care, she continues, adding that it is a management problem. [Decisions that are not made, postponed or bad, which impacts morale.

During the spring 2024 legislative session , the United Conservative Party government plans to introduce bills to dismantle Alberta Health Services to be replaced by four agencies. Some are concerned that care in four areas, primary care, acute care, continuing care and mental health including addictions, will be jeopardized by this new model.

Meanwhile, Danielle Smith said efforts to find more family doctors and keep those who do practice from going out of business continue.

Alberta, like other provinces, faces a significant shortage of family doctors, which has a disastrous effect on the entire health system, since more and more patients who do not have one find themselves in emergencies, overloading them.

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Before Christmas, the Prime Minister announced a public investment of $200 million over two years to help doctors in primary care to continue practicing.

In addition, the province is working with the Alberta Medical Association to develop a new compensation model that will takes into account the increase in patient numbers, inflation, operating costs and comprehensive care.

With information from Dean Bennett of The Canadian Press

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