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Commentary: Health crisis needs committed response

The official Opposition health critic says Premier Smith is more focused on reforming the health system than providing concrete solutions

Just over a month after winning the UCP leadership race and becoming Alberta’s premier, Danielle Smith is now facing a major crisis with a dramatic rise in respiratory illnesses sending many children and others to emergency rooms and adding huge new pressures to a health-care system already under significant stress.

Whether the new leader will be able to rise to the challenge and lead the province through of the crisis remains to be seen. What is known is that residents across Alberta will be expecting Premier Smith and her cabinet colleagues to make the well-being of the sick their first priority.

For her part, Premier Smith says her government is committed to meaningful improvements.

“Alberta has the best front-line health workers in the world, but the challenges facing our health-care system mean Albertans aren’t getting the care they need when and where they need it. That changes now,” said Smith. 

“From recruiting more front-line staff to improving emergency services and clearing surgical backlogs, our government will work to ensure Albertans in all communities receive the prompt and efficient health care they expect and deserve.” 

Dr. David Shepherd, the official Opposition health critic, says Smith is more focused on reforming the health system than providing concrete solutions. 

“Danielle Smith’s intent to upend our public health-care system is simply a plan to create more chaos and hardship for all Albertans, while doing nothing to address the serious crisis we are seeing at every level of the system,” said Shepherd.

“Across the province, parents and emergency room staff are crying out for support but the leader of the UCP is silent. Front-line health-care staff are exhausted and demoralized after years of this government’s incompetence and attacks, and all the premier has to offer is more disruption and disrespect.”

Regardless of their respective political leanings, residents here and across the province will now rightly expect to see the Danielle Smith government focus first and foremost on getting Alberta through this latest health crisis.

Dan Singleton is an editor with the Albertan.

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