Residents in Airdrie and Cochrane are concerned after learning that they may lose their nurse practitioners later this year.

Some staff were informed by email that their positions may be eliminated in the spring.

Management says in Airdrie it could mean one third of the nursing positions will be lost and many residents say they are very concerned about the restructuring of their urgent care centre.

“I think that would be negative for me because I just had a newborn baby and family that live in this city so it's needed. For them to cut back is, where do we go now?” said patient Carla Bender.

AHS is assuring patients that it hasn't made any final decisions yet and contrary to reports, the nurse practitioners aren't being laid off but may be redeployed. 

The health agency says it is “looking for feedback from local doctors and nurses in these communities to see what's best for patients; recognizing that nurse practitioners are a scarce resource that may be needed elsewhere".

The explanation isn't sitting well with local politicians.

The family of Airdrie's mayor has come down with the flu and he says that is one reason the nurses practitioners are needed.

Airdrie Alderman, Allan Hunter, stood in for the mayor to explain the challenges of delivering healthcare in the community.

“The front line people are the people that, in critical situations can be the difference between life and death and speaking from my own experience, I suffered a heart attack a number of years ago and it was front line people, it was some nurses and it was a fire captain, because of their quick thinking and response, I’m still here to talk to you today and so cutting front line people, completely unacceptable,” said Hunter.

The deputy health minister points out that it is too soon to start moving pieces around in the health care system, since the budget doesn't come out until March 7th.