Today, United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney signed the party’s Health-Care Guarantee, that a UCP Government will, if elected, maintain or increase health spending, and will maintain a universally accessible, publicly funded health-care system.
“Supporting a universal, comprehensive health-care system is a core part of the UCP’s policy declaration agreed at our founding conference,” said leader Jason Kenney. “It is the mechanism through which we will achieve a world-class system with improved quality of life for all Albertans.”
Kenney added that a UCP government would however, be looking for more value from the system.
“We shall be looking for efficiencies,” he said. “Under the NDP, our costs are up but so are our wait-times. That’s got to change: The Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that on a per capita basis, we have the highest age adjusted health-care costs in Canada. By that metric we’re spending 38% percent more than B.C., but our wait times on key procedures such as knee and hip replacements are longer than ever: It used to be a 113 day wait for knee surgery. Now it’s 143 days. We need to find out why and fix that.”
The first step said Kenney, would be a performance review for Alberta Health Services.
“Within 30 days of taking office,” said Kenney, “a UCP government will commission a comprehensive performance review of Alberta Health Services, to reallocate capital significantly away from administration, to delivery of front-line services.”
Alberta spends $22 billion a year of taxpayers’ money on health, or $2.5 million an hour. Of that, Alberta Health Service spends $15.2 billion.
“Alberta Health Service handles nearly 25 per cent of Alberta’s entire budget,” added Kenney. “If there’s any question about value, I think Albertans would want us to make this our priority.”
Kenney said that the Review would be looking for the opinions of front-line employees of the AHS, who are most familiar with daily operations:
“I hear from front line health professionals all the time – nurses, physicians, paramedics and others – that there is enormous waste in the administrative functions of the health system, and an enormous amount of rationing. Rationing of surgical rooms, rationing of supplies, and rationing of staff time. Rationing treatment for people in pain, is not managing health-care. So, it seems to me as Conservatives that we need to push the resources and decision-making to the greatest extent possible out to where they are used, to the front lines. We need to reduce the massive bureaucracy and administration that has grown in the centre of the system.”
“We want AHS employees to make this their review of the performance of their own organisation. If anybody knows ways to improve front-lines services, they will.”
Savings and efficiencies will be reinvested in the health-care system.
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A United Conservative Government is committed to maintaining or increasing health spending and will ensure a universally-accessible, publicly-funded health-care system.