September 23, 2014 1:41 pm
Updated: September 23, 2014 3:18 pm

Prentice announces review of rural health care

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CALGARY – Alberta Premier Jim Prentice says the provincial government will be completing a comprehensive review of health care in rural communities.

“I learned from my travels across Alberta this summer that many rural communities are seriously concerned about health care delivery,” said Prentice.

The review will be guided by Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Dr. Richard Starke, who will chair a panel consisting of health-care experts and stakeholders.

The panel will identify communities in rural Alberta that need attention, and review existing services and facilities in consultation with regional Health Advisory Councils.

”We know there are challenges with health care delivery in rural and remote areas,” explains Starke. “We need to look at what we currently have and ensure those resources are being used practically and in the best way possible.”

The focus will be on rural communities in three categories: those with a population of 1,250 people and less, between 1,250 and 2,500; and more than 2,500.

The review panel will focus on the following areas:

  • Timely access to appropriate health care
  • Evaluation of specialist services in rural areas
  • Optimizing the use of existing rural health facilities, ensuring patient safety and quality services
  • Ensuring communities are engaged in health service planning and policy development
  • Recruitment and retention of health personnel in rural areas, consistent with appropriate levels of care; and
  • The link between rural economic development and the provision of health services within communities.

The panel will report back to the Minister of Health in 90 days with its findings.

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