Firing of the AHS Board - an abrupt ending to a costly experiment

With the firing of the AHS Board, "the question that Albertans should be asking is why the Premier and the Minister of Health do not read the employment contracts that are offered to Executives before hiring them?.  They are the ones that are ultimately responsible for the decisions that are being made regarding the use of our public health dollars," indicates Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare.

Since prior to the inception of AHS Super board Friends of Medicare expressed concerns regarding the manner in which this super board was appointed .   "In our view, a voice for the public interest was always conspicuously absent. Also, there was very limited representation of actual health care workers and health expertise.  With the future of Alberta's health care system at stake, these have been glaring omissions," indicates Azocar

Given that  now we  see an abrupt ending to this very costly experiment, "the issue is not the structure, it is the culture and expectations that this ideologically driven government has created within our health care system," said Azocar.  "AHS was created through an internal coup; its whole culture is corporate and secretive, driven by an undisclosed agenda.  It discloses trivia on expenses but nothing on the allocation of 13 billion / year.  It's privatizing without a mandate or public input," adds Azocar

What we need is REAL Local input into our health care, regardless of structure.  REAL public discussion of agenda, and real disclosure of allocations of public health dollars. " Let's reflect back on the Colonoscopy issue in Calgary or the Home Care contracts that were just awarded to Toronto Based Companies, the ongoing aggressive privatization of Seniors Care - everything  about AHS reaction showed a will to manage and minimize the issue, no sense at all that it was an ethical crisis," indicates Azocar.    Structure does not matter, culture does, and AHS and this government who holds the responsibility over our health care have been heading towards the wrong direction.

The ongoing financial mismanagement that we have seen over the years, has led to constant upheaval and costly reorganizations. " Every time we need to  reorganize the governance of our healthcare system we have seen millions of dollars being unnecessarily  spent, and  our health care thrown into chaos, " indicated Azocar.  "we are constantly trying to change a tire on car that is upside down in a ditch," said Azocar

Friends of Medicare is calling on and demanding that  the Minister of Health to commit to a more transparent, accountable and democratic structure of governance of our healthcare system - a structure that is no longer open to elitists, golden- parachuting, corporate insiders.