Opinion Letters

Open letter to Minister of Health

To the Hon. Sara Hoffman, Minister of Health,


We are writing this letter with concerns of the state of our health care system in Alberta. Albertans have suffered at the hands of past and present misguided governments in this great province. This situation is most dire in Central Alberta, where doctors voiced their concerns at a public forum on Feb. 28, 2017. This is a health care dilemma that should not be.

We here at Alberta Liberty understand all too well that your party is not responsible for the bloated and broken health care system that you inherited. However, in the time that your party has been in power and you have been in charge of this fiasco, this branch of government has deteriorated to a barren windswept landscape of depression and hopelessness. The decline started years ago with the PC government in power. Instead of looking at and streamlining the bloated corporate side of the system, the PC’s opted to impose a levy (which we all know is a tax) on hard working Albertans. You, ma’am, have done nothing yet to address these issues. You, in fact, have made it worse.

Your inaction was made most evident on Feb. 28, 2017 with the State of the Hospital Address from the physicians at the Red Deer Regional Hospital. They brought forth facts contained in a 2016 document stating that the per capita health spending for the Central Alberta region at $286, the Calgary region at $1,400, and the Edmonton region at $4,000 per person. Now, when you add in the cost of a multilevel pay-to-park parkade to the tune of $39.6-million at the Red Deer hospital, it drops the health spending to $160 per person.

This report also states that Central Albertans are 60 per cent more likely to die from a heart attack. Emergency patients routinely wait an average of 33 hours before seeing a physician due to the lack of beds at the Red Deer Regional Hospital. Furthermore, the overcapacity beds are in the hallway or in the tub room. The RDRH routinely misses target wait times. A total of 55 per cent of all surgeries performed at the RDRH are unplanned, urgent surgeries. The benchmark, according to the report, is 30 per cent of surgeries should be unplanned and 70 per cent should be scheduled.

Enter Thelma Melnechuk. Thelma was a daughter, sister, wife, aunt, mother, grandmother and a proud Albertan. Thelma lost both of her legs just below the knees to diabetes. Thelma, and approximately 30 other residents of Lacombe, continues to travel to the RDRH three days a week for dialysis treatment because there is no dialysis unit at the Lacombe Hospital. For Thelma and many others, three to four hours of scheduled treatment turns into a seven to 10-hour day (30 hours a week) including travel and wait times. Thelma lived across the street from the Lacombe Hospital. Yes, lived, as Thelma Melnechuk died from a very painful infection on the left stump on Feb. 27, 2017 at the RDRH while waiting for surgery. This is the very reason for the State of the Hospital Address.

It is incomprehensible for our already neglected health care system to be trumped and ignored by your parties concern over cleaning our already clean Alberta air with your Climate Leadership Plan. Albertans are dying and your party declares war on an issue that is highly suspect in nature. In reference to the NDP slogan, we have your back, unless you include “a knife in” you most certainly do not have “Albertans’ back.”

We implore you, Sara Hoffman, on behalf of all Albertans to:

• Immediately have a private audit done on AHS.

• Reallocate funds from your party’s Climate Leadership Plan to bolster our health care infrastructure (a new hospital in Red Deer, a speedy finish to the hospital in Grande Prairie, a dialysis unit in the available space at the Lacombe Hospital).

• Start paying employees by their success (performance) rate, not their years of service.

Your health care system is broken, Sara Hoffman. Albertans are dying on your watch and you are responsible.

-Tim Melnechuk, President Alberta Liberty 

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