Statement by David Swann: Government needs to address lack of spaces with real solutions, not political Band-Aids

EDMONTON, AB (March 11, 2015): Dr. David Swann released the following statement on the government’s announcement on the use of ASLI grants to create more bed spaces:

“This government needs to look beyond Band-Aid solutions to the root causes of our health care backlog.

“Martha and Henry’s children have grown up in a province where long wait times, poor management, and lack of access to our health care system has been the norm. Spending millions more on private providers is not going to improve our chronically mismanaged public system.

“I support the creation of new beds, however this is only a short-term solution to the bed shortage. The real issue is that they are not moving patients out of hospital to their needed level of care.

“The government employed this exact strategy in 2011, then AHS ended up closing the beds.

“Unless we address this issue, these new beds will soon be filled up as well, and we will be right back to where we started.

“Health care is already our largest expenditure, yet we still have broken hospitals, a lack of home care, and plugged emergency rooms. Simply throwing more money at the problem hasn’t solved it in the past.

“Today’s announcement also puts more responsibility on Alberta paramedics, who are already understaffed, overworked, and overstretched. Yet, the government has failed to provide additional supports for these front line workers.

“I have called for more funding for prevention, more funding for home care and continuing care, support for frontline workers, and better management of Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services.

“We can do better by addressing the problem head-on, not just by making a series of funding announcements on the eve of an election.”