In 1967 after the Red Deer Municipal Hospital was replaced with the Red Deer General Hospital, healthcare was engaged with a generation and delivering the care the decade required. However, the primary focus of our healthcare needs are much different today than they were then. The booming young families of 50 years ago, are not so young any more. Healthcare needs are shifting from pediatrics to geriatrics. Put plainly, the majority of our population is aging. If our healthcare is not equipped to transition along with our people, we will find ourselves rapidly outpaced and floundering upstream. A system once locked in to delivering care to a generation, will find itself out of place and unable to engage.
Fortunately, Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health are working with Albertans to develop a long range plan for Central Zone. The outcome of this process hopes to define what healthcare will look like by 2031, while providing strategies on getting us there. The projected deadline for the submission of these plans is September 2017. Once submitted, the task of assessing the implementation of the plan will be determined at a later date. The good news is, something is in the works.
To do anything long range takes looking at many facets. We need to be assessing what is going well, what needs revamping, and what is lacking altogether. Present future is where our mindset needs to be. What can we do now, combined with the question, how will this impact a generation three to four generations from now? Solutions have to be financially sustainable. Not only that, but while acute care needs must be addressed, preventative care has to be incorporated as well. We want every facet of our generation, and those to come to be as vibrant and healthy as possible.
While much of it may seem a long way off, now is the time for input. Community members, physicians, healthcare providers, union and professional organizations, and stakeholders are all a part of the process. Some think tanks and workshop chats have already taken place, and can be found on the AHS website: ahs.ca/longrangeplanning. However, community engagement is an ongoing process. We need the community based solutions and ideas that you have. Possibilities are just around the corner when it comes to repurposing facilities or opening up existing spaces. Your ideas might just be the ones that unlock a world of opportunity for future generations.
If you would, I invite you to share your input by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s get our health care back on track, and engaged with us and generations yet to come.
Don MacIntyre, MLA
#2, 160 Hewlett Park Landing
Sylvan Lake, AB, T4S 2J3