Alberta Liberals fully support a public healthcare system. To support our public system we need to find a way to make it sustainable. Currently, Alberta pays the most per capita for healthcare.
Sustainable public healthcare requires a shift in thinking. We need to focus on keeping people healthy instead of just treating them when they are sick or injured. A renewed emphasis on preventive care, nutrition, lifestyle, poverty, education, and mental health will bring about better results and reduce long-term costs. The following is a preview of some of our Healthcare Platform.
20% of Albertans will be affected by mental illness in their life yet Alberta only spends 6% of its health budget on Mental Health. This is only two-thirds of what expert opinion, including the Canada Mental Health Commission, recommend.
We will close this funding gap Our plan will see spending on mental health and addictions increase by $600 million annually over the next 4 years. We will provide $150 million in new annual funding immediately. We will gradually redirect $450 million in existing funding over the next 4 years. This will expand services, drive down long-term healthcare costs and save lives.
We will not just expand access to programs. We will transform the way we approach mental health in Alberta. Including:
- Harmonizing goals and roles to develop an effective and integrated system.
- Creating a person-centered care system.
- Putting a renewed focus on public education and prevention.
- Increasing the role primary care providers play in mental healthcare.
- Combating stigma to address the 60% of people with mental health problems who never seek help.
- Unique services tailored to the needs of people from marginalized groups.
Sustainable Health Care
The Alberta Liberals will reduce the cost of our healthcare system by spending smartly in the areas that drive down long term costs. We need to invest in continuing and preventative care.
It’s less costly to keep people healthy than it is to treat them when they’re sick. continuing care spaces are less expensive than keeping people in acute care yet we many in need of continuing care are left in acute care due to a lack of spaces.
Our plan will:
- Create 2, 200 new long-term care space.
- Invest $150 million into home care and assisted living.
- Invest $100 million into Preventative Care
Create a Preventative Care task force to explore best practices in fields like nutrition, health education, screening, prevention and team-based community care.
- Reduce costs by cutting the number of middle managers at AHS.
Affordable Dental Care
A lack of access to dental care isn’t just about cosmetics or even comfort and can result in serious health implications such as infections and even death. We will work towards universal dental care with our partners in confederation. We can make dental care more affordable in the interim by:
- $50 million for expanding the availability and reach of affordable, community-based dental care.
- Pressing the Alberta Dental Association and College to allow dentists greater freedom to advertise their services and lift restrictions on dentists being able to offer promotions or special pricing for groups such as seniors or children.
- Make the Dental Free Guideline prices mandatory for essential services.
Alberta Liberals are committed to implementing best practices from across the globe to implement a 15-minute patient transfer time from ambulance to ER.
Our strategy includes:
- Hiring intermediate ER health care providers
- Increasing the number of community paramedics
- Improve EMS-ER handover efficiency with the use of advanced technology and streamlined handover procedures.
- Rigorous management of patient discharge.
- A public campaign to raise awareness of proper ER use.
- Reducing access block with increased community and continuing care.
- Ending City of Calgary dispatch of ambulances; having AHS take over, as they do across the rest of the province
Two Albertans die each day to opioid and other overdoses. Much more can—and must—be done to curb Alberta’s opioid crisis. We will:
- Declare a the Opioid Crisis a Public Health Emergency
- Open more treatment bed.
- Increase the number of supervised injection sites.
- Make the addiction treatment medication suboxone free.
- Make addictions counselling free to those who need it.
People suffering from drug addiction and abuse aren’t criminals, they’re ill. Punitive action worsens the stigma around addiction and makes it harder for people to seek help. Addicts need help, not handcuffs. We support following the lead of Portugal and decriminalizing the possession of small quantities of drugs in order to better combat addiction.
The Alberta Liberals will work the Federal Government and our partners in confederation on the implementation of a national pharmacare plan that provides access to affordable drugs for all Albertans.