Following consultations with more than 100 communities, action is being taken to improve access to health-care services in rural Alberta.
The Rural Health Services Review Committee has delivered its final report and recommended actions – a number of which are underway, including:
- developing a provincial EMS service delivery model; and
- establishing eight to 10 Alberta Health Services (AHS) operational districts to give communities a stronger voice in local decision-making.
“We know accessing health care can be challenging in rural Alberta, and what works in urban areas may not translate to rural areas. I appreciate that rural Albertans took the time to share their very thoughtful and creative ideas. There’s a lot of energy in rural Alberta when it comes to improving health services in their communities.”
~ Stephen Mandel, Minister of Health
Government and AHS will continue to work to address other issues noted in the report, such as the importance of primary health care, team-based care, and supporting caregivers.
“I was honoured to have the opportunity to hear, first-hand, about the challenges of accessing or delivering health care in smaller communities. Rural Albertans are passionate about health care, and the committee’s recommendations reflect short- and long-term actions that will help keep their communities vital and their families, friends and neighbours healthy.”
~ Dr. Richard Starke, MLA Vermilion-Lloydminster, Chair, Rural Health Services Review Committee
The new AHS operational districts, to be implemented by July 1, will be responsible for delivering local health services and meeting performance objectives. They will receive advice from new 10-15 member Local Advisory Committees. Further information will be available from AHS.
Launched in September 2014, the Rural Health Services Review Committee focused on issues including timely access to appropriate health care; community engagement in planning and decision-making; and optimizing the use of existing rural health facilities, ensuring patient safety and quality services. The Committee met with both communities and province-wide health care organizations as part of their work.