Alberta NDP, UCP spar on health care plans
Alberta NDP, UCP spar on health care plans

Following recent Alberta Health Services data showing decreased wait times under Danielle Smith, the Alberta NDP has announced their plan to tackle the health care crisis. 

Candidates David Shepherd and Cam Heenan announced Wednesday that an NDP government would work with doctors instead of “fighting” them. Shepherd said the NDP would increase the supply of family doctors so all Albertans have a family doctor. 

He also reiterated the party’s plans to invest in-home care for seniors. 

The announcement comes following new AHS data showing massive improvements in wait times since Smith became premier six months ago. 

Calgary ambulances responded to urgent calls in metro and urban areas in 12 minutes on average in April, compared to nearly 22 minutes last November. 

There’s also been a huge improvement in red alerts, which are issued when no ambulances are available to respond to 911 calls in a given area. Calgary spent about four minutes on red alert in April, down from 4.2 hours in November.

Smith, who campaigned on overhauling health care during the UCP leadership race, implemented drastic changes upon becoming premier. She quickly fired 11 members of the AHS board and replaced them with administrator Dr. John Cowell. 

He was charged with reducing ambulance, emergency room and surgical wait times.

In response to the new data, NDP candidate Kathleen Ganley said it doesn’t align with anecdotal reports she’s heard on the campaign trail about long waits. 

Smith said she’s “very surprised” how negative the NDP is towards the civil service. Healthcare workers have faced a hard job over the last three years and the UCP government asked them to work together to reduce wait times.

“They have risen to the occasion,” Smith said in response to a question from True North. 

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