For April’s survey, we asked Rural Voice Information Panel (Rural VIP) members about their experiences relating their health-care needs to government.
Governments are elected by, and accountable to, their constituents. As such, any policies developed by governments should address the needs, including the health-care needs, of all people they represent.
However, sometimes addressing these needs is difficult for policy makers, as they do not have the same experiences as the community members who live, work, and receive services in a particular community. It is important that individuals effectively relate their community’s health-care needs to the government, so that policy makers can address any challenges.
Given their participation in the Rural VIP program, which demonstrates an interest in health care in their communities, it is not surprising that the
Rural VIP members tend to be experienced in relating their communities’ health-care needs to government.
Nearly all Rural VIP members report that they know where to access government health-care news (95 per cent) and keep up to date with government news and announcements (93 per cent). Three-quarters of respondents felt that they know how to advocate to political leaders, whereas half of the respondents feeling like their community’s concerns are understood by political leaders.
Of the three-quarters of respondents who have previously communicated their community’s health-care needs to the government, most were likely to use email; however, a quarter of respondents reported using more than one medium, such as writing both letters and emails. Half of the respondents specified that they contacted their MLA, while 14 per cent indicated that they also contacted the Minister of Health.
When asked about their successes and challenges in relating their community’s health-care needs to government, Rural VIP members gave a variety of responses, but in general, agreed that persistence is required to achieve success.
Starting in May 2021, RhPAP will be launching a new online educational resource called RhPAP U. RhPAP U will contain a range of resources to help rural constituents to more effectively make their health-care needs known to government. Visit rhpap.ca or stay tuned to RhPAP social media (@AlbertaRhPAP) for updates on RhPAP U.
Each month, RhPAP shares the learnings and feedback from the previous survey with Alberta Health and the RhPAP Board of Directors, who represent the following organizations: Alberta Health Services, the Alberta Medical Association, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, Rural Municipalities of Alberta, and the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta. We may also share this information with other health professional organizations for whom it is likely to be relevant.