Minister of Health questioned on Fort McMurray residents having to travel for Healthcare

The Minister of Health was thoroughly questioned in the Legislative Assembly on Nov. 25 by the NDP Health Critic on the amount Fort McMurray residents are having to travel to Edmonton for medical care.

NDP Health Critic David Shepherd referenced the local Northern Lights Regional Health Centre no longer providing outpatient imaging services due to staff shortages.

“This is forcing patients to go to Edmonton for imaging for breast cancer, all because they’re short a technician,” Sheppard questioned.

The Minister of Health Jason Copping responded that there are difficulties in the attraction and retention of certain professions. “Our focus is on actually ensuring we get the people there, and we can provide the services that we need in communities across the province.”

Shepherd described a local family having to travel every two weeks to Edmonton for treatment for their son, which he stated cost the family roughly $500 each trip in food, gas, and a hotel room.

He asked what’s being done to keep residents from being forced to leave their homes, “What is this governments plan to ensure Fort McMurray has the services needed so people can afford to stay healthy and live in the community.”

Copping responded that they are looking at capacity and their ability to provide the proper services across the entire province.

“We’re spending more money than ever, than any government in Alberta’s history. More than $23 billion dollars on healthcare, and we are focused on ensuring we have the resources available to provide equitable service across the entire province.”

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