Voters in Calgary-Varsity will get to choose between the current health minister or a medical researcher in a provincial election shaping up to be all about healthcare.
Running in the May 29 election are the UCP’s Jason Copping, who’s been serving as health minister since 2021, and the NDP’s Luanne Metz, a University of Calgary professor and neurologist, who is focused on people living with MS.
With big moves being made in the healthcare field by Premier Danielle Smith in recent months, voters living in the Calgary-Varsity area are keenly focused on the issue.
As per the Primary Care Network, the riding also has only one doctor that is currently accepting patients, and no female doctors are available.
The NDP’s plan to increase access to primary care throughout the riding falls under a short-term plan and a long-term plan.
“The immediate short-term plan is to help family physicians already practicing. Reduce the amount of time they spend doing behind-the-scenes work, paperwork, etc. and supporting them so they can see more patients,” said Metz, the riding’s NDP candidate.
According to Copping’s online article posted to the MyCalgary site, the UCP plans to ensure access to primary care, although he was unable to comment on specifics.
The UCP also wants to make it easier for international doctors to work here, as well as continue to support Albertan healthcare professionals and expand family physician seats within the University of Calgary medical program.
The University of Calgary holds approximately 35,000 students, many of whom will be impacted by accessibility to primary care, and its affordability.
The NDP also plans on strategizing within the University of Calgary by increasing popularity within the family medicine practice and recruiting new graduates.
Metz said it will be vital when recruiting new graduates to show them the plan for the healthcare teams. “Which will be teams of care providers, about 4:1 care providers to physicians,” she said. “It will be another plan that will be built up over the longer-term.”
Metz adds that Albertans will not need to pay for this program or any access to primary care, as it will be accessible to all.
This story is part of an editorial partnership between the Calgary Journal and MacEwan University journalism.
Copping was not able to comment on his plan to keep primary healthcare affordable.
The Alberta Party is also running a candidate in the riding.
Angela Grace, the AP candidate, plans on improving quality and affordability of healthcare, expanding the use of Integrated Primary Care teams, and expanding Primary Care Networks and Alberta Health Care coverage to ensure all children have access to medical services.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its original version to add more information about the candidates.