WHEREAS all Albertans, whether urban or rural, are entitled to receive health care services as required;AND WHEREAS the travelling time and distance to the nearest hospital, especially in poor driving conditions due to weather, are significant risk factors in the event of emergencies;AND WHEREAS it is important to the health and quality of life of our senior citizens and others hospitalized for extended periods that they have the support and company of their family and friends and remain in their own communities;AND WHEREAS the maintenance of full service hospitals is very important to the viability of rural communities;AND WHEREAS the four pillars of the Alberta economy (the energy industry, agriculture, tourism and forestry) all predominantly occur in the rural area and must be supported for the benefit of all Albertans, and such support includes delivery of quality rural health care;AND WHEREAS there is a health care funding crisis in Alberta;AND WHEREAS it has become the practice of some regional health authorities to remove health services from rural hospitals, including closing hospitals, in order to save costs;AND WHEREAS any reduction in health care service levels negatively impacts rural communities ability to attract health care professionals;AND WHEREAS centralized health services are another example of provincial government services biased toward the majority who live in large cities, at the expense of rural communities, and not for the benefit of all Albertans;AND WHEREAS the Province of Alberta has invested substantial taxpayer dollars in a network of excellent rural hospitals, which are being wasted by this centralization policy;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Province of Alberta to provide funding to regional health authorities conditional upon the maintenance of existing hospitals and health care services in rural communities.
Over the years the Province of Alberta has invested substantial taxpayer dollars in a network of excellent rural hospitals, to ensure a high level of health care is provided in rural areas. High-quality rural hospitals are important for the following: reducing the risks rural residents face in travelling to the nearest hospital, which in many cases is a substantial distance from their home; allowing those hospitalized for long periods of time to have the support and company of family and friends; ensuring seniors and others in need of hospital care can remain in their own communities; and encouraging and supporting the development of the energy industry, agriculture, tourism, and forestry, and strengthening the viability of rural communities. Alberta is experiencing a health-care funding crisis that some regional health authorities are addressing by removing health services from rural hospitals. In some cases this includes closing hospitals. This results in centralized health care in large urban centers to the detriment of rural communities,
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this matter.However, in May 2002, AAMDC President Jack Hayden did write to Health Minister Gary Mar, formally requesting his consideration in reviewing the budgetary allocations provided to each Regional Health Authority, and in particular those in rural Alberta, to ensure that rural citizens continue to receive a standard of health care, and access to that care, which meets public need and is fair and equitable in comparison to the level of care provided to Albertans in metropolitan centres.”