UCP MUST STOP RURAL EMERGENCY ROOM CLOSURES, ENSURE CRITICAL CARE AVAILABLE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
EDMONTON – Jason Kenney and the UCP must ensure critical care is available in rural communities over the holiday break, as Fort Vermillion’s emergency room closes.
As of Tuesday night, Albertans in Fort Vermillion will not have access to emergency care every single day until December 20th because there aren’t enough doctors to cover shifts.
“Albertans living in rural communities deserve to know they can get care when they need it. This closure is simply unacceptable in a hospital that’s already closed 10 of its 26 acute care beds,” said NDP Critic for Health David Shepherd.
“The next closest emergency room is 81 kilometers away. The UCP must take action to protect the people of Fort Vermillion and other communities who face similar closures.”
In addition to Fort Vermillion, High Level, and Cold Lake, there are bed closures and service cuts in Manning, Fairview, Spirit River, Beaverlodge, Grand Prairie, High Prairie, McLennan, Wabasca, Barrhead, Mayerthorpe, St. Paul, Wainwright, Ponoka, Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House, and Hanna.
The emergency room in Elk Point remains closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the emergency room in Hardisty has been closed since April and is not anticipated to reopen until the new year.
“There is a crisis in healthcare here in Alberta,” said Shepherd. “Alberta doesn’t have enough doctors or nurses and other professionals to staff our hospitals because this UCP government has been at war with them for two years.
“The UCP practice of tearing up contracts, slashing pay, and harassing healthcare workers has led us to this point.”
To ensure that rural Albertans have access to emergency room care over the holidays, a time that is statistically busier for those working in hospitals, Alberta’s NDP calls on the UCP government to present a plan to ensure there are no more emergency room closures over the holiday season.
“Many Albertans will be on the highways in the coming weeks. Many Albertans struggle with the holiday season. All Albertans have the right to expect that their local hospital will be able to help them if they need it,” said Shepherd.