UCP leadership race: Smith criticized for comments about putting patients in hotels | Pro IQRA News

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Alberta’s New Democrats took aim at UCP leadership candidate Danielle Smith on Monday afternoon, referring to her as the “front-runner” in that race and calling recent statements she made about how to expand health care capacity “wild” and “absurd” .

During a Facebook Live town hall on Aug. 12, the former Wildrose leader was asked how she would avoid “lockdowns” if Alberta’s “hospitals start to be overwhelmed” by another wave of COVID-19.

Smith said the county needs to figure out how to free up acute care beds occupied by seniors slated for long-term care.

“It’s something like 60 percent of the beds are filled with people waiting for long-term placement,” Smith said.

“And I have to realize that there has to be a more comfortable place for them to go. I thought maybe a hotel would be a better setting.”

Smith continued her answer by saying that there is excess capacity in some continuing care facilities that could also be used by seniors in hospital beds.

NDP health critic David Shepherd focused his criticism of Smith on her hotel proposal during an afternoon media conference outside a west Edmonton hotel.

“Long-term care beds require a registered nurse to be on hand 24 hours a day with all the equipment and supplies that may be needed to assist someone with significant medical challenges,” Shepherd said.

“The idea that a purpose-built medical care facility is interchangeable with a hotel is absurd. It is not a solution … Hotel and motel staff are not health care workers.”

Shepherd said Smith was the UCP candidate most likely to become the next prime minister, and he accused her of having a history of promoting “pay-as-you-go health care.”

Instead of hotels, the MLA for Edmonton-City Center said the government should improve the system by creating more long-term care spaces in Alberta.

CTV News Edmonton has reached out to Danielle Smith’s campaign for comment on this story.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the government announced an additional $11.3 million in funding for palliative and end-of-life care initiatives.

Shepherd welcomed the announcement, but said the UCP must do more to address Alberta’s “health care crisis.”


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