A group of central Alberta mayors has joined together to lobby the provincial government for changes in how healthcare is delivered in their communities. The group of 17 mayors has written a letter to provincial Health Minister Jason Copping requesting to meet to share their concerns and explore possible solutions with him.
Through meetings and discussions over the past few months, the group has identified a number of common challenges and concerns that are shared among their communities and many other municipalities across the province. Their concerns include health care service levels, staffing challenges, EMS shortfalls, inequities in health care funding to central Alberta communities, and Emergency Department closures which are impacting access to service for residents in their communities.
In their letter to Minister Copping, the group said, “Our attempts to collaborate with and inform AHS Central Zone of our communities’ concerns have not resulted in any outcomes and it would appear that our efforts/concerns are not being considered at this level…With no end in sight nor a clear path forward, we feel the need to address these concerns before they become an unmanageable crisis.”
Their letter to the Minister also noted, “We would welcome the opportunity to explore ways and means in which we can strive to make central Alberta a health care employment destination of choice.”
In March 2023, the group also submitted a Request for Decision to the Alberta Municipalities’ Spring Municipal Leaders’ Caucus requesting “that the Alberta Municipalities Board advocate for municipalities across the province to be included in the decision-making process when it comes to health care issues concerning their communities, which currently are being made almost exclusively and unilaterally by Alberta Health Services and the provincial government.”
That Request for Decision achieved 89 per cent support by municipalities across the province. In their letter to the Health Minister, the group said, “this level of support clearly demonstrates a province-wide frustration with many aspects of health care services.”
The group is currently awaiting a response from the Health Minister to their letter.