The Alberta government’s pledge two years ago to establish 140 family care clinics throughout the province might have been too ambitious, Health Minister Fred Horne says.
Former Premier Alison Redford promised the clinics would be operating within three years.
The family care clinic (FCC) model was touted by the Tories in the last election as an efficient way to provide community-specific health care to Albertans that would bring doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, pharmacists, dieticians and physiotherapists together under one roof.
But so far just three pilot FCCs have been set up — in Calgary, Edmonton and Slave Lake — at a cost of about $15 million.
Horne announced on Thursday the province is putting $45 million towards nine more FCCs in the Edmonton, Calgary, Peace River and central Alberta areas.
He acknowledged the government has fallen well short of meeting the initial target.
“Shortly after the election in 2012 I was directed to establish 140 family care clinics in Alberta. I think that was a very ambitious, perhaps an overly ambitious target,” he said.
Horne also pledged another $32 million to bolster the 42 primary care networks (PCNs) that are operating around the province.
PCNs are privately-owned physician offices that get supplementary funding to hire other health professionals to help deliver enhanced services to patients.
Some critics called the FCC plan a poorly conceived and a redundant addition to the primary care model.