Dear Mr. Shandro, Stop trying to match Quebec's healthcare system. It's not something to aspire to!

Dear Mr. Shandro,

I keep hoping this government will start to listen to the people and keep their promises not to cut health care spending. I keep seeing comparisons to spending in other provinces and how BC, Ontario and Quebec all spend less than Alberta yet supposedly have better outcomes.  I'm not sure how they came to this conclusion, at least where delivery of service is concerned.

I lived in Quebec for 14 years and moved back to Alberta 3 years ago. In my dealings with the healthcare system as a generally healthy family the system is significantly better in Alberta. Why do we want to tear apart our system and break it so it matches theirs?

It took me 2 years on the waiting list to get a family doctor in Montreal. I got one within 3 months of moving back to Alberta.Prior to finding a family doctor I'd have to go to walk in clinics. Often it would mean getting there at 7:30 am for the 8:00 am opening and hoping to be seen by someone by noon and not being told they were already full for the day as often happened. Minimum wait there was 3-4 hours. Fortunately I never had complicated issues to be dealt with!

Now with your proposed changes my family doctor will have to send me away if my concerns will take more than 10 minutes or they have no way of getting paid for that time. That means I'll have to go back to the doctor's office 2 to 3 times to address something that could have been done in maybe 15 to 20 minutes had the doctor been able to charge appropriately for the care they were giving me? Logistically this means 10-12 hours off work, waiting an extra hour or two in the waiting room waiting to see the doctor.  

To get blood tests would mean showing up at the hospital an hour before opening and waiting 2-3 hours to get the draw or paying privately. Here I've waited a maximum of 30 minutes when I've shown up without an appointment.

I needed a breast ultra-sound to verify if a lump was non-cancerous. It was going to be 2 months to be seen at the public clinic. I eventually opted to pay privately because I wasn't sleeping with worry. Here I've shown up at the ultra-sound clinic for a dating pregnancy scan and was given an appointment within 2 days.

I've had friends wait 24-36 h to be seen at an ER, 6 to 12 h for broken bones or stitches, including children. Many in the Montreal area will go to a smaller town hospital in Hawkesbury 45 minutes away because the wait might be down to 3-4 h. We've unfortunately had to use our local hospital a few times (too many for my liking) in the last 3 years. The wait is an acceptable 2 hours or so with impeccable service. The most current update I could find on Montreal's median wait times indicate 9.2 hours. Yes outcomes might be the same but I'm not sure many people support the decline in service going from 1-2 hours to 9-10. Quebec often only has 1 (one!!!) ER doctor on staff overnight. I've heard from ER nurse friends that they might actually only be on call and sleeping until a trauma comes in. Other reports have shown some ERs are WITHOUT a doctor over night. 

My husband broke his while we were visiting Edmonton back in 2010. He needed surgery and the doctors at the emergency room made sure he had it done that night. Care, service and outcome were amazing. We had the wakeup call of how "lucky" we were it happened in Alberta when we got back to Montreal and saw a report on the news of a man with a very similar injury who was given his X-rays from the ER and told to go find his own surgeon and was still looking for someone 2 weeks later.

All of your changes are going to reduce service delivery for everyone. That has an economic impact as looking after our health takes us away from our jobs. That is a direct cost to the economy that your government has so far failed to stimulate and has only resulted in lowering revenue streams and creating a greater deficit than under the previous government. Please, stop the next proposed tax cut to corporations. That is not going to change the cost of oil and gas. That is out of Alberta's control. Alberta can not afford to give away another 4.7 billion dollars! Everyone will suffer, yet no jobs are likely to be created. 


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