Redford gearing up for PC leadership showdown

Progressive Conservative party leadership candidate Alison Redford’s proposal of Family Care Clinics offer a ‘multi-disciplinary’ approach to meeting care needs, she says.

“But we have to really step outside of the box to do it,” she said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

Family Care Clinics would bring together multidisciplinary care teams under one roof. With access to electronic medical records, the team will know the family and select the health care professional best suited to each patient’s needs.

According to Redford’s web site, a patient currently requiring even the most basic primary care must be seen by a physician. In her proposed model, the patient is treated by the most appropriate professional, and the Clinic is compensated for the visit.

“I want funding to follow the patient,” said Redford. “By changing our funding model and providing an innovative model for access to primary health care, we can improve the health services provided to families while also reducing the pressure on emergency services.”

Redford is working on getting the word out about her bid for party leadership, since Premier Ed Stelmach announced he will not be seeking another term in office.

Over the years, she has garnered extensive experience in both provincial and national politics since the 1980s. Throughout the 1990s, she worked as a technical advisor on constitutional and legal reform issues in Africa for the European Union, the Commonwealth Secretariat and both the Canadian and Australian governments.

In 2005, she was appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as one of four International Election Commissioners to administer Afghanistan’s first parliamentary elections.

Continuing in the health care vein, Redford also said that the province’s expectation that forming a single health services board would result in only a few snags was unrealistic.

“There were probably some good reasons for doing it with respect to streamlining administrative services where we could see cost savings around payroll, IT and electronic health records,” she said. “(But) I would say that when government decided to put that board together, they should have recognized the fact that you needed to have local decision making with respect to facilities. The idea that the government would simply move to a provincial board and presume that everything could be managed from a central board was wrong.

“We needed to find a way to ensure that the people making decisions that impacted facilities were based locally. Then individuals impacted by the health care system (would have) had someone they could talk to who understood what was happening in their community.”

Looking ahead, Redford said it’s time to start talking about what comes next in terms of the party’s direction. She said she’s connecting with Albertans and then comes the work of formulating policies that reflect how people are feeling.

“It’s important for those of us who want to be leaders to step up and articulate why we want to be leader and what we would do if we were. And I don’t think there’s any harm at all in getting started on that early.”

mweber@reddeerexpress.com

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