This release was issued under a previous government.

“I learned from my travels across Alberta this summer that many rural communities are seriously concerned about health care delivery. So I have tasked MLA Richard Starke to chair a review panel into the delivery of health care in underserviced rural and remote areas.”

Jim Prentice, Premier

“The Premier has been clear we need to do more listening and less talking when it comes to health care. We need to listen to and work with our rural partners when delivering health care in their area.”

Stephen Mandel, Minister of Health

MLA Starke will chair a review panel of health-care experts and stakeholders. The committee will identify communities in rural Alberta that need attention and will review existing services and facilities in consultation with regional Health Advisory Councils.

The panel will focus its attention on rural communities in three categories: those with a population of 1,250 people and less, between 1,250 and 2,500; and more than 2,500. The panel will report back to the Minister of Health in 90 days with its findings.

The review panel will focus on the following areas:

  • Timely access to appropriate health care
  • Evaluation of specialist services in rural areas
  • Optimizing the use of existing rural health facilities, ensuring patient safety and quality services
  • Ensuring communities are engaged in health service planning and policy development
  • Recruitment and retention of health personnel in rural areas, consistent with appropriate levels of care; and
  • The link between rural economic development and the provision of health services within communities.

”We know there are challenges with health care delivery in rural and remote areas. We need to look at what we currently have and ensure those resources are being used practically and in the best way possible – in consultation with communities.”

Dr. Richard Starke, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster

Listen to the news conference


Panel member biographies

Dr. Allan Garbutt

Dr. Garbutt is a rural physician who has served the residents of Crowsnest Pass since 1993. A past president of the Alberta Medical Association (AMA), his contributions to the AMA include the Rural Physician Action Plan and serving as the President of the Section of Rural Medicine. 

Ms. Bonnie Sansregret

Ms. Sansregret is a passionate advocate for rural health care in Alberta and is the Chair of the Consort and District Medical Centre Society. She is currently a councillor on the municipal districts Special Areas Board and has previous experience as a board member with East Central Health. 

Dr. Shannon Spenceley

Dr. Spenceley is the President of the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA). Her extensive nursing career includes positions as an acute care staff nurse (surgery, ICU, emergency), a clinical educator, a health-care analyst, a health services researcher and a clinical trials coordinator.

Additional appointees may be made as required.