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Leduc-Beaumont residents launch new Friends of Medicare chapter


Last month, residents from Leduc, Beaumont, and surrounding communities who are concerned about their public health care, came together to launch a new Friends of Medicare chapter.

At their founding meeting in February, members elected an inaugural chapter board, including new chapter chair Cam Heenan.

“Along with the rest of our new volunteer chapter board, we are eager to get to work to do our part in protecting and strengthening our public health care system for the benefit of everyone in our communities,” said Heenan in a press release.

Heenan has worked in EMS for nearly 20 years.

“have seen firsthand the impact that cuts and systematic privatization have had on our public health care system, the patients who rely on it, and the frontline health care workers who keep it going,” he said.

“Right now, we’re hearing that our doctors are considering leaving, we have no form of walk-in clinic or urgent care centre in my home town of Beaumont, and the Leduc Hub emergency shelter is facing closure. Paired with the cancellation of the long-promised South Edmonton hospital, people in our communities are extremely concerned about their diminishing access to care services.”

According to Friends of Medicare executive director Chris Gallaway, the organization began in 1979. Other existing chapters are in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Calgary.

“The founding of the Leduc-Beaumont chapter is an exciting next step in expanding the work Friends of Medicare,” said Gallaway.

“Between repeated facility closures, chronic short-staffing, and a rampant agenda of austerity and privatization being proliferated by Alberta’s provincial government, we are hearing from people all over this province who are struggling to access their health care,” said Gallaway.

“Alberta is decades behind on needed infrastructure, and the ongoing short staffing crisis continues to jeopardize care access. Patients, health care workers, and their loved ones are fed up, and ready to stand up for the public health care they need and deserve. There’s never been a more necessary time for this chapter to take form and take action.”

Leduc-Beaumont region residents can get involved in the new Friends of Medicare chapter by contacting Heenan at 825-343-9764 or by following them on Facebook.