Monday, October 2, 2023

NDP promises teaching clinic to bring more healthcare workers to Lethbridge 

The Alberta NDP is promising a new Lethbridge teaching clinic if it is elected. Leader Rachel Notley made the announcement at the Galt Museum on May 8. She says it will bring new medical students and family medicine residents to serve southern Alberta. 

“Healthcare is in crisis and nowhere and no community knows that better than the people right here in Lethbridge. Tens of thousands of families with no doctor, longer waits at the hospital and Albertans being forced to drive further and further and further for care. Under our family health teams plan, one that we rolled out on the second day of the election, we will make sure that every Albertan who needs a family doctor gets a family doctor,” Notley said. “We will build more clinics with more health professionals who are there to help you and your family and of course that also means training more healthcare workers, starting right here in Lethbridge.” 

Capital costs for creating the clinic are estimated at $10 million and operational costs are estimated at $18 million annually, according to the NDP. 

The clinic would include a family health team comprised of doctors, nurses and other health professionals, including obstetric care. Notley says the party would also consult with the Blood Tribe and Indigenous communities on establishing an Indigenous centre of excellence in primary care. 

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The new clinic would be made in partnership with the University of Lethbridge, the University of Calgary, Chinook Regional Hospital and local doctors. The NDP says it would look at putting the facility on the university campus.  

The model would recruit medical students who can practice in the community long term, according to the NDP. “We know doctors trained in the Lethbridge region are more likely to build connections and work in the community long-term,” said Shannon Phillips, Alberta NDP candidate for Lethbridge-West. “The UCP has created chaos in healthcare that has driven away doctors, leaving 40,000 residents without access to care. Enough is enough. Instead of fighting with doctors, we’ll recruit them.” 

UCP candidate for Lethbridge-East Nathan Neudorf says his party invested into healthcare with the 2023-24 budget and he plans to continue working on supporting healthcare if re-elected.

“The United Conservative Party government has invested $31 million in budget 2023-24, and a total of $113 million over three years towards medical residency positions throughout the province. This will specifically benefit Lethbridge for the development of regional health professional training centers in the city,” he said. “We inherited a broken, bloated, and bureaucratic health system from the NDP that was failing Albertans. Health spending has increased by over $2 billion since the NDP left office and we’ve added 700 physicians and nearly 6,000 staff in AHS including 1,800 RNs and 300 paramedics.”

Election day is on May 29.  

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