Braid: Do not belief campaigning UCP candidates with well being care future

Braid: Do not belief campaigning UCP candidates with well being care future

When politicians begin faulting AHS, do not forget that they’re actually speaking about themselves

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Some UCP management candidates, understanding the federal government is in hassle over well being care, are falling again on a helpful previous scapegoat.

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Blame Alberta Well being Companies. Fault the very group the federal government controls and funds — the one whose CEO, if she offends the federal government, will likely be terminated (sure, that’s Verna Yiu).

The appointed governing board of AHS, allegedly arms-length from politics, used to think about it had some independence.

In 2013 the governors argued with the PC authorities over government bonuses. Your complete group was promptly fired by the well being minister, Fred Horne.

When politicians begin faulting AHS, do not forget that they’re actually speaking about themselves. The well being minister, the premier and the cupboard are the unchallenged rulers of well being care. Any AHS failings go proper again to them.

Well being care has been tormented by obsessive authorities tinkering because the Nineties. Resolution-making has gone from 17 regional well being authorities, to 9, after which to the only superboard.

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Ron Liepert, well being minister in 2008, satisfied then-premier Ed Stelmach that one provincial authority was an ideal concept.

At first of COVID-19 in 2020, UCP politicians mentioned this unitary construction would assist in the provincewide battle towards the illness.

They had been at the least partly proper, within the sense that AHS may marshal provides and co-ordinate responses provincewide.

However now that well being care is in disaster, and half of rural Alberta continues to be in a fury over masking and isolation orders, some candidates all of a sudden wish to return to regional management.

Throughout Wednesday’s management debate, former finance minister Travis Toews mentioned: “Well being care is failing in rural Alberta, full cease. That’s my expertise within the northwest and that’s what I hear from Albertans proper throughout the province.

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“AHS wants full restructuring, and now we have to decentralize their decision-making construction. The construction proper now just isn’t solely failing Albertans. It’s failing our front-line well being care professionals, and that’s tragic.”

Former Transportation Minister Rajan Sawhney argued that “AHS is an inverted triangle. It must be flipped. It’s too prime heavy.

“Perhaps we have to transfer again to regional boards. There are various features of AHS that must be dismantled.”

Rebecca Schulz, previously kids’s companies minister, mentioned, “I don’t consider going again to regional boards is essentially the reply, however what’s the reply goes again to native determination making . . . Return to listening to the entrance traces.”

Brian Jean, former Wildrose chief and now a UCP MLA, says he’s amused “when folks from Calgary and Edmonton inform us how well being care goes. I’m from Fort McMurray and I let you know we haven’t had a well being system there for years and years and years.”

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Jean doesn’t assume it’s essential to “blow up AHS,” however says the cash ought to comply with the sufferers and the federal government must work with the docs and nurses.

Centralized command out of Edmonton will be sclerotic. Some within the system nonetheless pine for the times when every hospital had its personal governing board that might approve fast options to in-house wants and issues.

A examine ordered in 2015 by Jim Prentice, the late PC premier, confirmed that in some rural hospitals, nurses had been paying with their very own cash to purchase objects like bandages, mild bulbs and screws.

AHS was taking as much as six months to approve purchases of provides. One native supplier wanted six separate approvals to purchase something.

Such issues would appear minor now, as fundamental companies shut down randomly all around the province, ambulances line up at hospital doorways and surgical procedures are cancelled.

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The final folks to be trusted with fixing this mess is one other cluster of politicians hoping to be premier. However a few them — notably Sawhney and Danielle Smith — do have a good suggestion.

They name for a public inquiry. I agree.

Alberta wants a full-scale, unbiased and open investigation of provincial well being care underneath the Public Inquiries Act, headed by a commissioner with the power to compel testimony underneath oath.

This inquiry ought to study each nook of well being care efficiency and governance to find out the way it all started to crumble, who’s accountable, and what have to be performed to create a viable system over the long run.

The UCP’s public inquiry into overseas funding of anti-oil campaigns gave this highly effective instrument a nasty title with many Albertans.

However well being care is a really worthy problem — a disaster that begs for critical, non-partisan investigation. It may’t be left to the federal government or management campaigners.

Don Braid’s column seems frequently within the Herald

Twitter: @DonBraid

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