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New campaign asks province to address health care staffing, quality issues
Advocates are asking the political parties to pay more attention to the health care needs of Alberta’s oldest population.
Public Interest Alberta and Friends of Medicare launched a campaign Tuesday appealing the province’s political leaders: “Alberta Seniors Deserve Better.”
“This should be an election issue,” said Carol Wodak, a senior and member of the Public Interest Alberta seniors taskforce.
“Caring for our vulnerable seniors now, caring for ourselves when we reach that point, ought to be a priority. Much more than saving any money, which in fact doesn't save us money in the end.”
Friends of Medicare said 18 per cent of Alberta’s 4.3 million population is at least 60 years old, but the province has failed to adjust to the growing age group.
“As Albertans head into an election, most of the political discourse has centered around the economy and pipelines. Yet, how we care for our loved ones often takes a backseat,” Sandra Azocar, the group's executive director, said.
“Albertans do not stop needing care when we see a downturn in the economy or when we see the economy pick up.”
The campaign says privatization and corporatization have reduced access to and quality of care. The groups want the government to mandate staff-to-patient ratios and address a lack of at-home caregivers.
Joel French, executive director of Public Interest Alberta, also alluded to Jason Kenney’s promise on Monday to cut the corporate tax rate to eight per cent if the United Conservative Party was elected.
“We even had one of the major parties yesterday promise to make large corporations, some of which are the same ones profiting off our seniors, even more profitable than they are now,” French said.
“The priority should not be the wealthy; it should be the vulnerable.”
The UCP has previously vowed to maintain health-care spending if elected by signing a “health care guarantee.”
Premier Rachel Notley and the Alberta NDP recently boasted about the party’s health care record, but were flagged for potentially breaking Alberta Health Services rules by hosting the event in a hospital.