Question 1: Cancer Care and Health Care Services
According to a Leger Marketing poll, healthcare is the number one issue on the minds of Alberta voters. About one quarter of Albertans believe that healthcare is the most important issue facing Alberta today and almost four in ten will evaluate the parties’ position on healthcare when deciding who to vote for (Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal, March 28, 2012).
If elected, how will your government improve the delivery of cancer care and other healthcare services in Alberta?
A Wildrose government would improve healthcare delivery by empowering our talented workers on the front lines. We have some of the best healthcare professionals in the world, but they are increasingly burdened by red tape and bureaucracy.
Will your government continue to provide a publicly funded healthcare system or would it institute a private healthcare system? Please provide the rationale for your decision.
Wildrose believes in allowing a mix of public and private delivery in order to add capacity and encourage competition, as long as it remains publicly funded and universally delivered in accordance with the Canada Health Act.
We believe that the best models for universal health care are not found in Canada or the US. They are found in European countries such as France, Austria, Belgium, and Germany. They allow a mix of delivery models that provide patient choice, accountability, and competition within a public system.
How will your government restructure healthcare delivery in Alberta?
We will dismantle the Superboard and gradually decentralize the delivery of health care to locally managed and integrated hospitals, Primary Care Networks, family physicians, specialty centres, long-term care facilities and other health services. We look forward to discussing with cancer treatment professionals and administrators how to administer cancer care most effectively.
Radiation and Chemotherapy are included in our “Patient Wait Time Guarantee,” but the most important part of the Wildrose policy is ensuring that Alberta’s health system meets the Wait Time Alliance standard as soon as possible so that it is unnecessary for Albertans to seek treatment elsewhere. That is why we will also be implementing a “Protection of Public Health Care Guarantee” which commits the government to increase the number of patients treated annually in Alberta until the Canadian Wait Time Alliance benchmark of 14 days is achieved.
Still, we know Albertans are leaving the province to get the care they need when the wait is too long in the public system. Until we get the waits under control, we will reimburse those who seek treatment outside the province to a maximum of the in-province rate.
How will your government improve services for lymphedema following cancer treatment?
Wildrose does not have a policy on this specific condition. We would be happy to meet with representatives of the CCSN and other relevant stakeholders to work toward a solution that will improve services that address lymphedema.
Question 2: Drug Approval
On average between 2004-2010, Alberta has approved for public reimbursement 17.7% of the 306 new drugs approved by Health Canada, compared to the cross-country provincial average for the same period of 23.44% (Access Delayed, Access Denied: Waiting for New Medicines in Canada, Mark Rovere and Brett J. Skinner, Studies in Health Policy, April 2012, The Fraser Institute).
If elected, will your government commit to increasing the number of new cancer and other drugs approved for public reimbursement so that all Albertans have timely access to the drugs they need, and if so, how will this be accomplished?
Wildrose does not have a policy on this specific issue. We would be happy to meet with CCSN representatives and other stakeholders to ameliorate the procedures surrounding cancer and other drug approval.