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The last year and a half has taken a tremendous toll on Albertans, our health-care system and the outstanding health-care providers who have overcome many challenges to protect the health and well-being of everyone in our province. I am extremely honoured to serve as your new Health Minister and am resolutely committed to guiding and supporting the province through the current crisis and on to brighter days.
We all recognize there are urgent and significant pressures on our health-care system, requiring a shift in how we manage COVID-19. The most critical need, and my first and immediate priority, is building our health system capacity. From beds to staffing, the capacity of Alberta’s publicly funded health-care system must be expanded now, and permanently.
Vaccination will continue to be our most effective tool against this virus. This is my second priority. Educating Albertans who are vaccine hesitant, and getting more Albertans immunized quickly, will be a key effort that requires awareness, understanding, kindness and action from all of us.
For those who have been vaccinated, thank you. For those who still have questions, I strongly urge you to discuss your concerns with your doctor or find information on alberta.ca. It’s okay to have questions. Critical thinking is a positive skill to have. Just be sure to place your trust in the experts for your answers.
My third priority will be preparing our health system to respond more effectively and nimbly to future waves of COVID-19 or any other health crisis. The delivery of health care is complex, but it must be flexible, sustainable and meet the needs of Albertans today, and the expected and unexpected challenges of tomorrow and the years ahead.
I look forward to sharing more details on how we will achieve this in the coming months.
I know this pandemic has been a tough journey for every Albertan. It has forced new realities at work, home and play. It has also cost the lives of far too many. But Albertans are tougher than this pandemic. We are compassionate too. The importance of this moment is to reach out to our friends and neighbours and to understand their challenges. If we as Albertans continue to embrace the Alberta spirit and look out for one another, I have no doubt we will get through this together.
I would like to thank the premier for putting his trust and faith in me, and I look forward to serving all Albertans as the Minister of Health.