Gateway Gazette

Government to Create Rural Health Care Action Plan










A comprehensive review of health care in Alberta’s rural communities will ensure care is coordinated in an efficient and predictable manner.

“I learned from my travels across Alberta this summer that many rural communities are seriously concerned about health care delivery. So I have tasked MLA Richard Starke to chair a review panel into the delivery of health care in underserviced rural and remote areas.”

Jim Prentice, Premier

“The Premier has been clear we need to do more listening and less talking when it comes to health care. We need to listen to and work with our rural partners when delivering health care in their area.”

Stephen Mandel, Minister of Health

MLA Starke will chair a review panel of health-care experts and stakeholders. The committee will identify communities in rural Alberta that need attention and will review existing services and facilities in consultation with regional Health Advisory Councils.

The panel will focus its attention on rural communities in three categories: those with a population of 1,250 people and less, between 1,250 and 2,500; and more than 2,500. The panel will report back to the Minister of Health in 90 days with its findings.

The review panel will focus on the following areas:

  • Timely access to appropriate health care
  • Evaluation of specialist services in rural areas
  • Optimizing the use of existing rural health facilities, ensuring patient safety and quality services
  • Ensuring communities are engaged in health service planning and policy development
  • Recruitment and retention of health personnel in rural areas, consistent with appropriate levels of care; and
  • The link between rural economic development and the provision of health services within communities.

”We know there are challenges with health care delivery in rural and remote areas. We need to look at what we currently have and ensure those resources are being used practically and in the best way possible – in consultation with communities.”

Dr. Richard Starke, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster


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