Gateway Gazette

Health Minister Must Direct HQCA Wait Times Study, Release Results

EDMONTON, AB: The Health Minister and NDP government must direct the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) to conduct a study on surgical and emergency wait times in Alberta, the Wildrose Official Opposition said.

The average wait time for a knee replacement surgery in the South Zone, which includes Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, is 52.2 weeks. The wait time for the same surgery in the Calgary Zone is 37.1 weeks.

“The Health Minister must account for the major discrepancy in wait times between different regions,” Wildrose Shadow Health Minister Tany Yao said. “Albertans want answers as to why they’re not receiving equal and effective healthcare.”

Alberta is spending more per capita on health care than both Saskatchewan and British Columbia, yet are not seeing better results. Excessively long wait times compound an already bad situation, resulting in increased costs and strains on Alberta’s health care system. Since last July at medium-sized hospitals in urban centres across Alberta, patients have waited anywhere between 1.3 and 17.9 hours in the emergency department for a hospital bed.

“Under this NDP government the Health Quality Council of Alberta has received little direction,” Yao said. “The Health Minister must direct the HQCA to conduct a study on surgical and emergency wait times in Alberta, and release the results without ministerial signoff so Albertans know exactly how their health care system can be fixed.”

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