An Edmonton Journal’s proposal that the Rimbey Hospital and Care Centre be closed, would make patients in the Rimbey area second-class citizens, cost lives and threaten the local economy, Wildrose candidate for Rimbey-Rocky mountain House-Sundre Jason Nixon said, Monday.
“Citizens and their families in Rimbey deserve the same quality-of-care and fair access to professional health services and facilities as other Albertans,” Mr. Nixon said, following a meeting of Rimbey town council Monday night. Closing an effective, long-standing facility like Rimbey hospital would discriminate against thousands of rural Albertans in this riding.”
Wildrose will never accept nor support such discrimination. Rural Albertans deserve access to health care and facilities. They don’t deserve to have their health jeopardized, said Nixon.
The Alberta government continues to review Alberta’s rural health care system in search of budget efficiencies, reductions and transfers to facilities in urban centres.
In Rimbey’s case, any closure would also affect more than 200 health care professionals and staff, Nixon asserted.
In the longer term, history has shown industry would look elsewhere for growth opportunities, seeking locations where professional health care services and facilities are easily accessible. The negative economic impact of such decision for any of our communities would be devastating.”
“Families in this riding see its three hospitals in Rimbey, Rocky Mountain House and Sundre as cornerstones of modern health care and lynch-pins for future growth, economic prosperity and acceptable quality-of-life,” Nixon said. “Forcing rural patients to drive double the distance, or more, for necessary health facilities and services is not progress, it’s a step backwards.”
Nixon advises the province to change its priorities.
“The provincial government must stop using rural hospitals and health services as a scapegoat to be sacrificed on the altar of budget redirection to urban centres. Shutting hospitals anywhere is not a solution. The focus should be on smarter use of our existing rural health facilities,” he said.