Sandy Doze, chair of the David Thompson Health Advisory Council, said that mental health is a priority for the health of Central Albertans at a meeting between the advisory council and Alberta Health Services on the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre on Jan. 10th, 2019. Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

Expanded mental health services tops list of needs for Central Health Advisory Council

AHS, Health Adisory Council hold public meeting in Lacombe

Mental health was listed as a priority during a meeting between Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the Central Zone Health Advisory Council (HAC) at the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre

“I think mental health is probably the biggest concern, not only in the Central Zone, but across the province,” Sandy Doze, chair of the David Thompson Health Advisory Council, said. “It is about access to services. We are hoping that with the zone health care plan, we will have some input on how those services expand.”

The HAC, which serves as a link between communities and AHS, host public meetings and consultations in order to gauge how Albertans are viewing health and health care in their province. From the feedback received by council members, Doze said that mental health topped the list — followed by the need for expanded access to specialists; access to transportation to and from hospitals and enhanced continuing care service.

The meetings allow the community to not only advocate for further funding and expanded service, but also to learn about how they can access services already available in the community

“We also listen to them regarding the troubles they are having accessing services so that Alberta Health Services can direct improvements in those areas,” Doze said. “Some of it is about more funding and some of it is about getting information out about how people can access service and also where to go. That helps AHS decide where they can maybe move services to where it is needed more.”

She added that mental health is one area that could always use more funding in the Central Zone.

One of the successes of the Central Zone HAC was the development of the new public health facility currently being constructed in Lacombe and also the Red Deer Regional Hospital being put back on the priority infrastructure list by the province.

“They are both things we have been advocating for and the community really needs,” Doze said. “In Lacombe — where they are adding the new building — they have had a lot of community input on what should be there and how it would make it more easy to access services. I think that is a positive step.”

READ ALSO:

Overall, Doze characterized the HAC’s relationship with AHS as developing in a positive direction.

“We have been building over the last three to four years and now we have a good relationship with AHS’s leadership both locally and provincially,” she said. “We report directly to the AHS board, so our feedback we get in the Central Zone goes both to central planning and also to the overall AHS planning.”

She stressed it is important for council members to gain as much community input as possible so that needed information can be relayed to AHS.

“We try to get our council members to go out into the communities and talk with the organizations, physicians, the primary care networks, the churches and the service groups so that we have their input,” she said. “We hold public meetings in different areas to get feedback. We want to get an understanding what the communities’ views are on health and the health system.

“What we need to do is get our voice out to the different communities. We want people to realize we are here and that we are a conduit to get their voices heard.”

To get involved, members of the public can log on to AHS website and search for the health advisory council link.

“They can also call any AHS facility and ask them how to get in touch with us,” Doze said.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame nominees named

2019 group of inductees include Special Olympics Wetaskiwin Warlords Slow Pitch team

Youth arrested near Wetaskiwin after pellet gun incident

Wetaskiwin RCMP respond to a pointing a firearms complaint, one man wanted

County and City of Wetaskiwin signed weed inspection agreement in 2018

County of Wetaskiwin ag report: skunk traps are popular

Winfield & District 4-H Beef Club’s public speaking held Feb. 3

Winfield club’s event features 13 speakers on very cold day

Falun East 4-H Beef Club preparing for major anniversary

Plenty of 4-H public speaking to warm up the cold weather

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Notley’s government puts priority on health care in throne speech

Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell kicked off the legislature session

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

B.C. argues it cannot stop Trans Mountain, but it can protect environment

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says only Ottawa has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick retires in wake of SNC-Lavalin case

Jody Wilson-Raybould accused Wernick of pressuring her to head off criminal charges for the firm

Dutch tram shooting suspect arrested, say police

Police say three people were killed in the shooting Monday and five wounded

Most Read