In 2011 the government temporarily shut down acute-care beds in Consort because of lack of physician services. Temporary, as in this case, appears to be an open-ended indeterminate amount of time.
I had previously raised this issue in March, and the Associate Minister of Seniors assured me that the government would work with the community to get this facility reopened.
When it was apparent no action was being taken, I addressed the issue with the Health Minister – this time on the floor of the Legislative Assembly. His answer was less than satisfactory. He answered my question with an answer that brought me no closer to a conclusive date they would be reopened.
I then proceeded to ask him a supplementary question where I reminded him that the reason for the closure was a lack of physicians. He also was reminded that the good people of Consort had successfully found the required physicians.
Once again, it was met with an unsatisfactory non-committal answer for when these beds would be reopened.
My final supplemental question was direct and to the point, “when would these vital acute-care beds be reopened?”
The Health Minister then responded “what I will do is that I will look into the matter with Alberta Health Services and see if I can get any further update on the status.” That at least gave us hope that some form of time-frame would be forthcoming. That was on May 9, still have no answer.
Recently, not far from my home there was a tragedy that reminded me of the perilous position the people in the Consort area remain in, without the availability of acute-care.
At a government staged event in Stettler on August 30, I was in attendance for an announcement that will see much needed improved internet access in the Special Areas. Also at the event were several Minsters and the Premier of Alberta. Having waited patiently for the last four months without an answer to my question, I took the opportunity to ask the Premier herself. Her response was even less satisfactory than the two previous Ministers had provided.
Her answer was more of a scolding in which she told me “this is not the time or place for this.” With all due respect, when IS the right time? Will it be only after the need for the bed is there and it’s not available because the decision still is being looked into?
The Wildrose is committed to advocating for Albertans and ensuring that critical services are available when and where they are needed. I will also continue to push for those services to be based on need and not based on politics.
Through the democratic process the people of Drumheller Stettler decided they had enough of misguided self-entitled representation.
They chose instead, the way of self reliance, in hope of building a better place to live.