Alberta Health Services is “failing” and needs “transformation,” says UCP MLA for Airdrie-Cochrane Peter Guthrie in a Facebook post.
Guthrie posted the video on Tuesday and said after speaking with many of his constituents, he had been “wrestling” with his thoughts on the state of Alberta’s healthcare system.
Guthrie highlighted the two-year period of the pandemic going from “zero data and no vaccine” to having data from around the world and a vaccine, “yet we seem to be in a circular loop.”
“Even at a 90% inoculation rate in those 12 and older, we struggle with capacity,” said Guthrie, criticizing AHS for the lack of available hospital beds throughout the pandemic and the many cancelled surgeries as a result.
“And AHS seems to recite the same recycled ideas including masking, passports and other various restrictions.”
In September, Guthrie said he and other MLAs questioned AHS and the Alberta government on the use of vaccine passports saying they were “divisive and possibly ineffective in stopping transmission,” and were showing waning efficacy.
“I don’t feel our health leaders adjusted to this evidence,” said Guthrie.
Guthrie also criticized AHS for not investing in researching treatments for COVID-19 symptoms and for working to “deter” the use of early treatments.
“AHS and the College of Physicians (and Surgeons of Alberta – CPSA) have penalized, suspended and even revoked licenses’ of those Alberta doctors trying to find a treatment, including anti-viral medications, that may help a patient avoid symptoms.”
Guthrie took aim at the “billions of added dollars” the government has put into healthcare for AHS to hire more doctors yet said wait times have not improved across the province. He also referenced a report by the Fraser Institute that pegged Canada as second behind Switzerland for the most expensive universal healthcare system in the world, but added Canada also sits among the bottom on performance.
“This reinforces the need for reform,” said Guthrie, adding he doesn’t blame frontline workers and suggests we should be looking to those healthcare workers for suggestions on how to improve what he calls a “failing” healthcare system.
Guthrie said pre-COVID19 — and immediately after he was elected — he and other MLAs felt upper management changes in AHS were necessary.
“We felt that AHS was a bloated, underperforming entity that requires transformation,” said Guthrie.
“With the uninspiring performance of AHS over the last two years, right or wrong, that sentiment still holds with me.”
Guthrie said he believes “high-calibre candidates” should be sought outside of AHS and said the healthcare system in Alberta should not be left to continue struggling and suggested other strategies should be explored by professional consultants from outside AHS.
“We must endeavour to generate confidence, not fear,” said Guthrie encouraging people to share their ideas and thoughts on how to improve Alberta’s healthcare system.
Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard