Rimbey is one of eight rural communities that currently have no access to obstetric services, according to Alberta Health Services.
The NDP government said in a statement on April 24 that the UCP government should be directing funds and focusing on ensuring closed hospitals and services reopen.
“The UCP does not care about addressing gaps in women’s health. Obstetric services have not been available in Sundre for over two years and I see no advocacy from their MLA, Jason Nixon, who is also a senior cabinet minister,” said Janis Irwin, NDP critic for Status of Women.
The communities of Rimbey, Whitecourt, Lac La Biche, Provost, Three Hills, Wainwright, St. Paul, and Sundre all have had their obstetric services closed.
“Expectant parents should not be forced to travel hundreds of kilometres because services in their communities are closed because of the UCP’s mismanagement of healthcare. They deserve care close to home. Under the UCP, Alberta families are stuck with significant amounts of stress, uncertainty, and additional costs at the worst possible time.”
The NDP said that obstetrics is just part of hospital closures due to the failures of the UCP.
Currently, there are 20 communities across the province where their hospital is closed or partially closed. The entire emergency department in Hardisty has now been closed for over an entire year as of April 16.
“The UCP has inflicted so much damage on Alberta’s healthcare,” said David Shepherd, NDP Critic for Health. “Even though all of the 20 communities with hospital closures are represented by UCP MLAs, the problems of the communities are left neglected and ignored by this UCP government. If Alberta is to have better healthcare, we need a different government.”
The health system has faced more pressure and chaos after the UCP suddenly fired the CEO of Alberta Health Services, Dr. Verna Yiu, to accelerate their agenda to privatize healthcare.
“The UCP should be directing funds and focus into ensuring that closed hospitals across the province can reopen and that women are able to access obstetric services,” said Shepherd. “However, the UCP is focusing on funnelling health dollars to their wealthy friends. Albertans do not trust the UCP with their healthcare.
“The UCP must halt their plans for privatization and bring it to the ballot box to let Albertans decide the future of their healthcare.”