Airdrie-East MLA, Angela Pitt, released a statement about the government's efforts to help the health care system in Airdrie and the intermittent closures at Airdrie Urgent Care.
“There are really two issues with Airdrie’s healthcare situation, one more recently with the issue of the lack of physicians able to work evenings and weekends at the urgent care facility here in Airdrie. And of course, the long-standing issue of - does Airdrie need a hospital.”
Pitt stated she is working with MLA Peter Guthrie, the Minister of Health, AHS, and various interested parties to make sure the provincial government is meeting the health needs of the citizens of Airdrie.
“Already, there is movement and renovations underway for the reconfiguration of the mental health space, the entryway, and storage areas. Those are the most immediate needs that have been approved and have been funded and the construction is underway.”
According to Pitt, there are more complex recommendations that have been made from these conversations and consultations and they could be implemented over time as the funding becomes available.
“I also think part of the problem in our community is we don't really know what's going on. There's lots of speculation and there are lots of wants, but we've never really had an open community conversation about what is actually happening.”
Pitt did make it clear that as the Airdrie-East MLA, she is not a decision maker in any health-related decision whatsoever. She just brings the information to the higher-ups so that they can make intelligent decisions and make sure that Airdrie is taken care of.
According to Pitt’s release, at the end of June 2022 there were 11,069 physicians registered in Alberta. This figure reflects an increase of 104 physicians from the last quarter and an increase of 142 from the same period in 2021.
The Minister of Health has confirmed that he is continuing to work with AHS to recruit even more physicians and get them into Airdrie and other communities as soon as possible.
“There are 13 core physicians who provide service to the Centre and a second group of 13 who provide coverage less frequently. With the increase in demand at all sites, the amount of time available for urgent care shifts has diminished. One physician has also been lost in the core group, but there have been three new physician hires who are being trained by the core group. It is expected that they will be ready for independent, urgent care work in approximately four weeks,” stated Pitt in her press release.
Pitt stated with the intermittent closures at Airdrie Urgent Care, the human factor does play a part.
“Doctors are humans too. They're probably in dire need of holidays, just like the rest of us. That’s just what happens coming out of a pandemic where everybody is stressed to the max.”
While on a vacation out in Prince Edward Island, Pitt mentioned she has experienced these wait times firsthand waiting hours and hours.
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