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Rowswell seeks second term as MLA

Looking for a second stint as MLA, Garth Rowswell says from a constituency perspective, they solved a lot of long-standing issues that municipal leaders in the riding had brought to his attention.

The UCP candidate is running for a second term in the Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright constituency and says one of those things for Lloydminster is passing the legislation to allow the transfer of Netcare files from Saskatchewan to Alberta. Those files deal with lab and X-ray results that are done at the Lloydminster hospital being able to be sent to Alberta and similar files from Alberta being transferred to Saskatchewan.

“We passed the legislation. The regulation took a long time to implement, and it’s still not fully done – but the legislation is done, and we will get there,” says Rowswell.

He says the full implementation could happen in the fall.

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Rowswell says the cross-border transfer of the hospital records including notes from medical staff will be next.

“The hospital records are the next thing – called Connect Care and that will require a separate effort to get that in there.”

On the dialysis centre, Rowswell says refurbishing work should begin this July on a building just north of the Lloydminster Hospital to prepare it to house the dialysis machines.

Health officials indicate that property houses the SHA’s Community Services located at 3830 – 43 Avenue and those services will have to be relocated. They expect the relocation to happen by the end of July. Also, the six dialysis stations proposed for that building will serve 24 patients.

Staying with healthcare, Rowswell says AHS has done a review of the Wainwright hospital and he wants a similar needs assessment done for the Lloydminster Hospital. The last study was done in 2013.

On the issue of planning for a new Lloydminster hospital he says the overall direction is to support “primary care and reduce reliance on acute care – to keep people out of the expensive doors.” Rowswell adds it’s not just what’s here in Lloydminster, but what is the (AHS) plan for the entire central region – where do we want what. And that’s the discussion that needs to be had and that assessment that was done in Wainwright – that’s going to be done throughout the entire central region.”

Turning to the RCMP back-pay bill facing municipalities, Rowswell says that’s the federal government’s decision, there was no input from municipalities and in the case of Lloydminster “they got a $1.7 million bill.”

“The federal government is reviewing whether they want to continue to offer this or not. The assessment that we are going through is – what should we do. And it’s incumbent upon us to prepare and maybe look at the provincial police force as an option.”

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He notes the contract that Ottawa has with the RCMP expires in 2032 and rather than wait to see what happens, the Alberta government is considering a provincial police service.

On the issue of the cost, Rowswell says Alberta pays 90 per cent of the RCMP cost at present so “it might be worth” it to explore the cost of municipal or provincial policing as he says two-thirds of the province already has a municipal service.

Ottawa has to give notice two-years prior – that’s 2030, as to their intentions with the RCMP contract.

Returning to the health file, Rowswell says he has been touring the province with the health minister to understand what’s working and what’s not working. In terms of staffing, he says they have expanded the number of seats for physicians and the government wants to make a “rural stream” using the universities in Grande Prairie and Lethbridge to offer medical degree programs. Also, in Wainwright registered nurses can now do their entire four-year training, says Rowswell.

The politician says overall he has a good relationship with all the municipal leaders in the riding. They give him a list of things to do and while “he has not achieved all of them, it does not mean that he quits working on them.”

Rowswell says he has been pretty successful, and he hopes to continue that if he gets re-elected.

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