Alberta government health care news appears to be smoke and mirrors | National Union of Public and General Employees

Alberta government health care news appears to be smoke and mirrors

"We fear the government is doing what governments so often do when an election looms - trying to create a media buzz by repackaging old news to make it sound fresh." —  Elisabeth Ballermann, President of Health Sciences Association of Alberta

Edmonton (13 March 2015) — There’s more smoke and mirrors than facts in today’s announcement by the Alberta government about action to improve emergency care, says the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE).

Promising much but delivering little

"I know Premier Jim Prentice doesn’t like to talk about mirrors nowadays, but this announcement of restorative beds and changes to the role paramedics seems to promise much, but deliver little," says Elisabeth Ballermann, President of HSAA/NUPGE, which represents about 25,000 health care professionals, including EMS workers.

“Rather than revealing a clear plan with real actions, the government announcement leaves Albertans with more questions than answers,” she says.

For example

  • Are these 311 restorative beds in addition to the 464 new continuing-care spaces announced in October 2014?
  • Is the funding for these facilities from the Affordable Supportive Living Initiative (ASLI) new money or part of the $60 million announced in October?
  •  Will these beds be in public or private, for-profit facilities?
  • What health care professional staff will be hired to provide care for patients in these beds?
  • Will more paramedics and ambulances be provided?
  • With the premier pledging a nine-per-cent cut in government spending, where will he find the $50 million he plans to spend renovating emergency rooms?
  • Will extra education be required and paid for to enable paramedical staff to perform expanded duties?

Old news gets new packaging

"HSAA welcomes any real moves to improve the care Albertans receive in emergency and to improve the very stressful conditions under which our members work. However, we fear the government is doing what governments so often do when an election looms - trying to create a media buzz by repackaging old news to make it sound fresh," says Ballermann.

"Our fears will only be relieved if the health minister and premier can guarantee that the threat of cuts to health care funding of up to nine per cent are withdrawn immediately."

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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