The recent closures of the Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital's labour and delivery unit have reached the ears of the federal government.
Morinville native Randy Boissonnault, who serves as the federal minister of tourism and associate minister of finance, was in the area last week to speak with Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association.
In an interview with FortSaskOnline, Boissonnault said that the federal government can only do so much to help hospitals operate.
"Healthcare and the allocation of healthcare resources in the province is the responsibility of the provincial government and Alberta Health Services," said Boissonnault. "What we are doing as a federal government is making sure that we have people that come from the rest of the world who want to practice medicine."
Boissonnault also said the lack of provincial investments is not helping the situation.
"Provincial governments across the country pulled back on the number of spots they have for medical doctors to train our own doctors," said Boissonnault. "Those investments need to come back."
He hopes to see a friendlier relationship between physicians and the government in the future.
"We need to make sure, coming out of this pandemic, that we have provincial governments that are working with physicians and nurses as opposed to picking fights with them," said Boissonnault. "What is going to happen is [healthcare workers] are going to move to a jurisdiction where they are welcomed."
That said, Boissonnault says that the federal government is looking for ways to ensure rural communities have the doctors they need.
"My colleague, the minister of Health, is looking for creative ways to make sure there are doctors in rural communities like Fort Saskatchewan, but we have to make sure that the province is doing its part," said Boissonnault.
"It's a complicated issue, doesn't help the people who are going to go into labour, but the fact that I know about this and have shared this means that it is on our radar screen."
The Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital is expected to reopen its labour and delivery unit tomorrow (Sept. 7) morning.