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Access to rural healthcare is critical; Schow

Posted on August 24, 2022 by Sunny South News

By Cole Parkinson
Sunny South News

Cardston-Siksika MLA Joseph Schow is hopeful to see better rural healthcare provided for Albertans.

With concerns being raised around healthcare in the southern parts of the province, Schow says he’s been having tons of conversations around this issue over the past few months.

“Rural healthcare is paramount. Rural Alberta is part of the backbone of this province and people certainly didn’t come here for the weather — they came here to make something out of nothing. They always need access to good quality healthcare, and they’ve had it, but as people move into urban centres, there’s a concern that rural healthcare may suffer. As the MLA for Cardston-Siksika, I will not stand for that. I know we are committed as a government to making sure that rural healthcare is accessible to all Albertans. I will keep fighting for that,” he explained. “One of the things that I am really excited about is looking to put more resources into things like EMS. That still needs attention from AHS and needs to be functional. When it comes to rural healthcare, there is no reason why rural Alberta can’t have access to quality healthcare in a timely manner.”

One of the biggest concerns raised by rural Albertans over the past several months has been around ambulance availability. With rural-based ambulances being called to the larger centre quite frequently, those in smaller markets have been left without ambulance services for long periods of time during busy times. Schow says the issue is being looked at by the provincial government but a quick resolution isn’t available.

“I don’t think it’s an overnight fix. I’ve heard a lot of people think that we should just throw money at the problem, but I don’t think this is just a money problem. I think we need to look at the structure as a whole — this is what I’m hearing from my constituents. I don’t think we will see this change overnight, but there are some measures being looked at by the group who is reviewing EMS response time to make sure rural communities will not go without an ambulance because, again, response times are huge. We’re talking a matter of life and death here and there’s no reason rural Alberta should suffer for any other reason other than it’s a longer drive,” he said.

Schow also pointed out that rural Albertans also have to be okay with the fact ambulance and EMS response times will be longer than in bigger cities.

“Rural Albertans, like myself, I accept that because I live in rural Alberta, there may be a longer drive time to get there. But people shouldn’t be suffering because we’re not connecting fast enough or they can’t find the location. We have to work through those problems and make sure there is access to EMS so we aren’t losing our strong rural Albertans to tragedies.”

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