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In total, 65 citizen consultations will be organized by mid-April, the planned end date of the public assemblies. (Photo dated March 21, 2024 taken at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Edmonton.)

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Four months after announcing the project to overhaul the province's health system, the Alberta government is in the midst of public consultations. The government is meeting with health professionals, citizens and leaders of community organizations in order to gather their feedback.

L&#x27 ;objective put forward by the province: succeed in co-constructing a more viable health system that is better adapted to the needs of the population.

At a press conference Thursday, Health Minister Adriana LaGrange said that to date, more than 2,500 Albertans have participated in in-person consultation sessions, while 10,000 residents have taken part in online sessions.

She added that another 18,000 people had submitted comments through online tools.

Additional public meetings will take place through mid-April.

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In total, 65 citizen consultations will be organized by this deadline.

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Alberta announced last November its desire to fundamentally review its health system (archive photo).

Our goal is to build a stronger health care system, with the involvement of Albertans who have real stories and experiences, said Adriana LaGrange, who emphasizes that the new system would be more focused on the priority needs of patients .

In this regard, the provincial minister emphasized the need to listen attentively to front-line health care experts, because they are the ones who know the current system best, as well as its challenges and shortcomings.

According to the minister, the first consultations made it possible to highlight common concerns, namely the need for a more transparent health system towards patients, more possibilities for decision-making at the local level, as well as the need for more healthcare workers.

Regarding the latter, the province says it has recruited 331 doctors additional in 2023 and more than 7,500 regulated nurses.

While emphasizing that the current health system does not meet the needs of rural communities, Kara Westerlund, vice-president of the Association of Rural Municipalities, said she was encouraged by the announced overhaul and particularly by the project to create x27;a new directorate responsible for prioritizing health care in rural areas and particularly in remote rural communities.

To help the Minister of Health with the system restructuring project, Premier Danielle Smith has appointed Chelsae Petrovic, a certified practical nurse, as the new Parliamentary Secretary for Health. MLA for Livingstone-Macleod, she has over 13 years of experience as a health professional.

I look forward to collaborating with Chelsae [Petrovic] in the weeks and months to come. With her experience in the health field, she will bring a very important perspective to our work to redesign health, said Adriana LaGrange.

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Chelsae Petrovic, a certified practical nurse, has been appointed by Premier Danielle Smith as Parliamentary Secretary for Health

Alberta announced last November its desire to fundamentally review its health system.

To this end, Alberta Health Services would be subdivided into four major hubs. The first would take care of acute health care; another, primary care; a third direction would be responsible for continuing care; and a fourth would be responsible for care related to mental health and addiction.

Prime Minister Danielle Smith then spoke of a new era health in Alberta.

The announced reform, however, is not unanimous in the province. Some wonder how the fragmentation of health system management could create a more integrated network, while others fear that it will cause possible chaos, or that it will pose a barrier to recruitment and to the retention of nurses.

A budget of $15 million had been announced for the transition to the new structure, which should be finalized at 'fall 2024.

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