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Health Minister Ron Liepert announced yesterday that the Stelmach government plans sweeping changes to the Alberta health care system. With few specifics in the announcement, CUPE Alberta waits with Albertans to learn whether intended changes will serve to strengthen the public health care system or further weaken accountability and access in the name of efficiency.

CUPE Alberta has long called for meaningful and comprehensive health care system enhancement. Our recommendations have included: improvements to community care, reduction in hospital emergency wait times, improved staffing levels in health care and facilities for seniors, and the development of a pharmacare program.

We are optimistic that upcoming health care changes could reflect our research and recommendations.

The area of Continuing Care is of particular concern. In the Spring of 2007, CUPE Alberta reported on a survey of staff working in seniors facilities. Crisis in Seniors’ Care - A Front Line View demonstrated that in order to improve service in these facilities, there must be a priority made to recruit and retain quality staff.

“Expanded and improved continuing care and residential services for seniors are long overdue, and were starkly evident in our report.” said CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz. “Improvements in the areas of staffing levels and working conditions are urgent priorities to support the recruitment and retention of staff.”

“We look forward to concrete plans that will demonstrate this government’s clear and measurable commitment in this area.”

CUPE Alberta will be closely monitoring developments during all stages of the announced health care changes, to ensure that our health care stays public and accessible to all Albertans.

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For more information contact:

D’Arcy Lanovaz - President, CUPE Alberta (403) 861-5235
Audra Williams - Communications representative, CUPE (780) 504-2837