‘Addiction crisis’ getting attention it deserves, says MLA Williams

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Proposed upgrades to provide better healthcare services are being welcomed by Peace River MLA and Mental Health and Addiction Minister Dan Williams.

Proposed legislation sets priority to provide healthcare services to ensure citizens get the care they need when and where they need it, says a government news release dated May 14.

“Mental health and addiction have been growing issues within our society and need to be prioritized within our healthcare system,” Williams says.

“Amid an addiction crisis, a refocused heathcare system will allow for mental health and addiction services to get the attention, oversight and focus they need.

“Recovery Alberta would allow for improve mental health and addiction care across the province as an important part of an integrated health system.”

Legislation would ensure Albertans have a system that works for them by prioritizing their need to find a primary care giver, receive urgent care without long waits, have access to the best continuing-care options and obtain excellent health and addiction treatment.

Health Minister Adriana LaGrange says upgrades to services are needed and vital.

“We are taking another step toward improving health care by updating legislation and enabling the governance and oversight required to refocus the healthcare system,” LaGrange says.

“The critical improvements to transparency and accountability will help support the successful refocusing of the healthcare system to one that is responsive, effective and reflects the needs and priorities of Albertan today and for future generations.”

Seniors, Community and Social Services Minister Jason Nixon agrees.

“Refocusing Alberta’s healthcare system is a crucial step to ensure that we can deliver a framework that prioritizes accessibility, accountability and patient-centred care,” Nixon says.

“By streamlining operations, improving oversight and fostering collaboration, we a setting a strong foundation for a healthcare system that is better equipped to address the diverse needs of each of our communities.”

The Health Statutes Amendment Act will enable government to transition from one provincial health authority – Alberta Health Services – to an integrated system of four sector-based provincial health agencies for primary care, acute care, continuing care, and mental health and addiction.

Agencies will be responsible to provide integrated healthcare services to ensure Albertans receive timely access to care, regardless of where they live.

AHS will remain a key provider of healthcare services and in fall 2024 will transition to focus on managing acute care services.

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