Monday, April 20, 2015

Questions for the Candidates: Airdrie Hospital

Each day this week, I will suggest a question for he candidates in Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills in the upcoming provincial election, slated for May 5th.

They are in no particular order; one is not more important that another.  But the answers are important to all of us here in this area!

Question #1;  If your party forms Alberta's next government, how does party plan to address the Airdrie Hospital debacle?

When the answer comes back, I'll be looking for specifics.  A city of 50,000+ - and growing by the day - must have a fully operational hospital!  I'm expecting to hear how they plan to revise/update the province's hospital building program to include Airdrie?  I'm also expecting to hear about a proposal for a three level plan involving the Feds, the province and the city to get things rolling.

I know times are tough financially, but the health situation in Airdrie is getting tougher by the day, too!


  1. On behalf of the Jim Adamchick Alberta Party campaign, we'd like to respond to your question.

    First, it's worth acknowledging that although Airdrie is not in our jurisdiction, the presence of a proper hospital there is a major concern for residents of our riding. Without a 24 hour hospital in Airdrie, people from your neck of the woods are still forced to drive all the way to Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary, or to Didsbury.

    Here is a link to Alberta Health Services capital projects:

    The long and short of it is that we need to keep funding health care in this province. Having worked in health care, I know this. More than $300 million has been cut from funding, and the PCs introduced a health levy that's not even going to health care.

    We don't want to presume we know what's best by answering a question quickly via blog post, and we don't want to make any false promises.

    But at the very least, we'd urge (demand even) the government turn Airdrie Regional Community Health Centre into a 24/7 facility - no down time. It's bananas that it's not yet.

    Health care is essential to maintaining our quality of living; we need to also invest in infrastructure; we need to invest into education; we need to create an environment conducive to investment and economic development in order to diversify our economy - and by funding these critical areas, we will help create such an environment.

    I invite you to please check out our platform on our website:

    We may not be the most wealthy party - but we are practical, we are not ideologues, and we aren't corrupt. We offer a palatable alternative to the same old rhetoric. And we're proud Canadians.

    We'd appreciate your support as mayor. At the very least, we'd like to chat if you'd like. Our volunteers will be in the Beiseker sometime next week, if you're around. Give us an email and we'll arrange a time to meet.

    Thanks for the great question.

    Jim Adamchick, candidate, Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills Alberta Party election campaign

    Jon Allan, campaign manager

    Mike Crampton
    President of Constituency Association

  2. Thank you for the question and your interest in seeking out information for yourself and your readers.

    We can all agree that any centre having a population of 50,000 must have readily available access to a functioning hospital. And if you visit the website of the Alberta New Democrat Party, you’ll note that restoring our health care services is one of our cornerstones. The Prentice government wants to implement cuts that will further hurt an already crumbling infrastructure and affect staffing, and ultimately services to Albertans. The Wildrose party has also agreed with the need in cuts.

    The Alberta NDP is the only party that has a solid plan to restore this vital service, and reverse the damage done by 44 years of Conservative governments. Some points from our platform to consider are the following:

    • 600,000 sq.ft of hospital space is currently sitting unused in this province that we aim to rectify and begin using again;
    • We will reverse the PC’s $1 billion in cuts which will alleviate the crowded Emergency rooms, cancelled surgeries and ensure funding for acute care;
    • The Alberta NDP will create 2000 long term care beds over 4 years which will improve senior care and reduce hospital congestion;
    • Address failing infrastructure issues, by repairing hospitals and constructing new facilities where needed.

    An NDP government will work to implement these changes, which will improve the overall health care needs of Albertans, and effects of this will spread to all communities. It would be impractical to make a promise now that the Airdrie hospital will be reopened but as an individual living in a rural community and working in the farming industry I clearly understand the need for this. It’s certainly possible this could happen after careful review and consultations with area residents and our frontline medical staff; however once beds free up, facilities repaired, unused space being filled again, I truly believe Airdrie area residents and all Albertans will see their needs more properly met.

    The Alberta NDP will create the best scenario for health care that Albertan’s have seen in 44 years.

    Thank you,

    Glenn Norman
    Alberta New Democrat Party
    Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills candidate

  3. Thank you for asking such important questions this week, Mayor Courtman. To answer this first question, I will first provide some background as to what The Prentice Plan, or PC Alberta election platform, presents as our commitment to health care for Albertans.

    First off, our reductions to health care are about cutting the waste and duplication from Alberta Health Services, including:
    • Freeze salaries of management employees in 2015/16.
    • Tighten controls on severance – it is the last option, not the first.
    • Reduce sick leave costs of approximately $190 million annually.
    • Eliminate 1,695 administration positions in Alberta Health System, including through attrition and retirements.
    • Better staff scheduling to lower overtime costs.

    We will focus dollars on the FRONT LINES in Health Care

    Albertans spend more per person on health programs and services than the rest of Canada. But don’t always get the best results for that investment.

    We have dedicated nurses, doctors and caregivers who work hard and do their best for patients. At the same time, for the tax dollars we invest, health care is not always timely, easy to use or giving us the best outcomes.

    When you spend so much more each year and don’t see better results, the solution is not to increase spending. We will find efficiencies in administration and trim the bureaucracy so that dollars can be dedicated to frontline services. At the same time, we will find ways to improve the quality and performance of our health system.

    Alberta is a diverse province – no city or community is the same as the next. So health care decisions should not be made on a one-size-fits-all basis. That’s why we are moving decision making closer to the front lines.
    Action: Focus on regional decision-making in health care. Establish 8-10 operational districts. Each district will be aligned with a local advisory council to give the community a say on how their health care is delivered.

      The health care system plays an important role in all our lives – from beginning to end, with countless milestones in between. Albertans must be assured that their health care meets the highest standards.
      Action: Improve safety standards and quality of care in health facilities by strengthening the system to monitor, audit and ensure compliance.
      Action: Review of the largest hospitals to improve efficiencies and costs through acute care hospital benchmarking.
      Action: Expand programs to support the mental health needs of children.

      With a growing and ageing population we have significant pressures on our health system. People are waiting far too long, especially in our emergency departments. Right now we have too many acute care spaces being used by people waiting for placement in continuing care. We’ve started to act on this problem – staffing additional continuing care spaces in the community – and we will continue to invest in delivering care faster, more efficiently and with a focus on the patient first.
      • Invest in emergency department expansions - including the South Health Campus and Peter Lougheed Center in Calgary and the Royal Alexandra, Grey Nuns and Misericordia hospitals in Edmonton.
      • Invest in additional surgical capacity.
      • Ensure access to afterhours care through Primary Care Networks.
      • Opening up more continuing care and restorative care spaces for seniors and others with complex needs, to free up acute care beds.
      • Use the full skills of all our health professionals by enabling paramedics, nurses and optometrists to do more.

      Our approach to Senior’s care will be guided by three principles of which the first two are:

      1. Help ageing Albertans stay at home and stay independent for as long as possible.
      Action: Enhance home care capacity.

      2. When a senior can no longer live at home, ensure access to affordable living spaces in their own communities.
      Action: Open 464 continuing care beds and 2,612 supportive living spaces.

      We will invest the necessary funds to expand capacity and build new health facilities.
      Action: Fund health care capacity expansion projects in Calgary and Edmonton.
      Action: Support construction of health facility projects throughout Alberta.

    2. Investing in health infrastructure across Alberta:
      • A new cancer centre at South Health Campus, as Phase 1 of a two-site model for cancer care in Calgary; future expansion of cancer services at Foothills Medical Centre will be planned within the Foothills site master plan
      • Peter Lougheed Centre women’s services and vascular renovations
      • McCaig Tower capacity expansion and renovations

      • And, of most interest to you and local residents, a new urgent care centre in Airdrie, based on a new template design that will be repeatable, scale-able, and cost-effective

      The services at an urgent care centre are for people who have unexpected but non-life-threatening health concerns that usually require same-day treatment. Some examples would include broken bones, sprains, lacerations, asthma, dehydration, pain and infections. I will work closely with the province and the local officials to address the growing concerns of not having a full hospital to service Airdrie and the surrounding community.

      To see The Prentice Plan in its entirety, please check out this link:

      Thank you very much.

      Wade Bearchell
      PC Alberta candidate, Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills