May 25th, 2024

MLA Neudorf identifies doc shortage as area of focus for 2022


By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on January 8, 2022.

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LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Another year is at its end and MLA for Lethbridge East Nathan Neudorf has seen some positives despite the challenges facing Albertans with COVID-19.
Among the issues facing Lethbridge is the doctor shortage, which has left more than 40,000 residents without a primary care physician.
And Neudorf knows it’s a problem.
“If you look at the numbers, the vast majority of doctors are retiring their practice. That’s a very typical demographic response for when you hit 60-65 as a established professional. All governments have sort of not paid attention to that,” he said in a year-end interview.
“But we’re here now and now we’ve got to make some adjustments, said Neudorf.
Among the positives for Lethbridge is the new Agri-Food Hub at the Lethbridge Exhibition.
“We had Exhibition Park begin; that was something like 17 years in the making and now you can drive by and see at least 100,000 tonnes of steel standing up. It’s exciting,” said Neudorf.
“When that thing’s open, it’s going to put Lethbridge on the map in a way that we haven’t been put on the map before,” he said.
Renovations to the airport are also something that deserve recognition, Neudorf said.
“You can go to the airport and check out the renovations there. Talk about bringing us into the 21st century. That thing was stuck in 1986 so that’s a beautiful new facility – those two things work together,” Neudorf said.
Renovations have also been going on at Lethbridge College and the university with new funding going to both facilities.
“We can look forward to a new school on the west side, we opened a new school on the southside this year with all the solar panels and energy efficiencies and great playgrounds for the kids,” he said in reference to Dr. Robert Plaxton Elementary School.
“We’re really excited about those things. We haven’t even started the ground-breaking for Highway 3 twinning or the irrigation but those things are going to have massive significance to us. We haven’t started the ground-breaking for the treatments in Lethbridge,” he said referring to mental health and addiction long-term treatment beds that are coming.
“That funding’s been announced, the site is there, I believe the RFP (Request for Proposal) has gone out for construction so I think construction will start in the spring. But anybody who is concerned about our homelessness rate and our mental health and addictions file, when those beds come online sometime I think in early 2023, that will be amazing because then they’ll actually have a place to go,” said Neudorf.
He added the government has passed some legislation that is “near and dear” to his heart including the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Act.
“The Labour Mobility Act in this last session was really important in terms of our free trade in Canada and getting people to come back to Alberta so that’s good.”
Neudorf is also happy with the Infrastructure Accountability Act which he worked on with the Minister of Infrastructure, which allows municipalities especially to see on the list where their infrastructure projects are in terms of priority.
For the first time in two years, Neudorf was able to attend a council of state governance conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico on behalf of the government. There he talked with huge trade partners in the U.S. who expressed their fondness for how Albertans and Canadians come to those events and become part of the conversation.
“You know what the biggest issues for the United States are right now? Energy, water and the environment. And we speak to all three of those things. We’re the single largest North American energy trading partner with the States,” Neudorf said.
“We’re the second largest trading partner from Canada with the United States at something like close to in an average year we would trade about $100 billion Canadian with the U.S. That’s just Alberta,” Neudorf said.
Most of that is energy, which is more than oil and natural gas, he said.
How the province deals with water, irrigation and storage are “exciting conversations and that leads to my being named the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Environment and Parks. . . .the Oldman River basin is so vital to so much of our industry down here, agricultural and food processing, as well as manufacturing in other areas.
“It’s a big deal to a lot of people in Lethbridge on how we manage our water so I hope people in Lethbridge feel their voices have been heard in my appointment there,” added Neudorf.
“I was very vocal, I took somewhat of a counter position to say I can’t jeopardize the water we need for our food and agriculture sector for another sector somewhere else. We have to work cooperatively but we have to be very careful to protect that so that advocacy ended up in that appointment,” said Neudorf.
He was also elected as Caucus Chair, a position in which he chairs all UCP caucus meetings and conversations between private members and the premier and cabinet when they ask questions, Neudorf said.
He said through challenging circumstances, he’s tried to help find a way of resolving party differences in a constructive way.
“We’ve come a long way internally as a party this year so I’m very proud of that role,” said Neudorf.
He was also appointed to the Priorities Implementation Cabinet Committee (PICC) meaning he was sworn into cabinet-level confidence without being a cabinet minister to bring caucus viewpoints to that conversation.
“That was a very high honour,” he said.
And just before the break, Neudorf was elected by all colleagues of the Legislature as MLA of the Year.
“To be chosen as the MLA of the Year, I’m very humbled and pleased with that,” said Neudorf, attributing that to Lethbridge residents.
“Lethbridge is a great city and sometimes when you look at our problems and challenges that all cities have, we’ve made the news in a couple of wrong ways in the last couple years but we lose sight that we’re really a great city,” said Neudorf.

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Chmie

This head in the sand attitude is what got us here in the first. The doctors that have left r young, they r fed up with the government and the unsustainable restrictions they have put on them for patient care. This government needs to look at themselves in the mirror and correct their mistakes. Do they care about the suffering of others. NO.