IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT AUMA advocate for the Government of Alberta to support enhancements to existing infrastructure and programming in regional hospitals outside of Edmonton and Calgary in order to provide an increased level of care to children, while recognizing that the Stollery Children’s Hospital and the Alberta Children’s Hospital serve as critical hubs to this growing network of care for children’s health across the province.
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT AUMA advocate for the Government of Alberta to recognize children’s mental and physical health as a priority by making advanced, specialized pediatric care accessible to all Alberta children, regardless of where they live.
WHEREAS the Government of Alberta is spending $22.1 billion this year on health care, representing almost 40 percent of total budget expenditures and an increase of 2.2 percent compared to the health budget last fiscal year;
WHEREAS Alberta’s population is experiencing a high natural growth rate and twenty-five percent of the province’s population is below the age of 18, and by 2041 the annual number of births in Alberta is expected to grow by 26 percent;
WHEREAS it is forecast that communities outside Edmonton and Calgary will see significant growth in the number of young people by 2046;
WHEREAS children’s health care is unique and requires a different approach than adult care given that children are particularly vulnerable to illness and infection, many of which can have lifelong ramifications if not properly treated;
WHEREAS only two out of 106 acute care hospitals in Alberta are dedicated to children’s health;
WHEREAS treating children close to home has proven health benefits and can help bend the cost-curve on the overall health expenditures for the Government of Alberta; and
WHEREAS the Stollery Children’s Hospital and Alberta Children’s Hospital treat children from across the province (and beyond) and are able to leverage world-class physicians and technology to support treatment of children in health facilities across Alberta.
Alberta continues to have the youngest population in Canada with nearly 20 per cent of its population between the ages of 0 and 14. 1 Between 2017 and 2025, the population aged 5 to 17 years is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 2.1%.2
Alberta’s 2018-2046 population projection shows that many regions outside of the Edmonton and Calgary Metro areas will see significant growth in the 0-14-year-old cohort of their population. Specifically; Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge will all see greater than 30 per cent growth in this demographic; Camrose, Drumheller, and Slave Lake will see 20 per cent and; Wood Buffalo, Rocky Mountain House, Grande Cache, Pincher Creek and Cold Lake will all see greater than 10 per cent growth in this youngest portion of their population.3
Last year, 44 per cent of Stollery patients came from outside the Edmonton area, while 24 per cent of The Alberta Children’s Hospital came from outside the Calgary area.4
Statistics Canada. (2018, May 30). Census Profile, 2016 Census Alberta and Canada. Retrieved June 4, 2019, from https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/dp-pd/prof/details/p...
Government of Alberta, Office of Statistics and Information. (n.d.). Population statistics. Retrieved June 4, 2019, from https://www.alberta.ca/population-statistics.aspx
Government of Alberta, Treasury Board and Finance, Office of Statistics and Information. (2018, July 3). Population Projection Alberta and Census Divisions, 2018–2046. Retrieved from https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/90a09f08-c52c-43bd-b48a-fda5187273b9/res...
Provided by Katherine Sweet, Director of Strategic Partnerships with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.
AUMA does not have a current policy position on this specific issue. However, advocating for improvements to Alberta’s mental health, is a strategic priority for AUMA’s Safe and Healthy Communities Committee in 2019. AUMA is also represented on the Valuing Mental Health Advisory Committee, which is overseeing the implementation of the provincial mental health strategy.