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'Good record?' Think again Ken

EDMONTON, AB (January 4, 2012): Ken Hughes, the former chair of Alberta Health Services (AHS), presided over one of the most turbulent and chaotic times in health care in Alberta’s history, despite his comments otherwise, the Wildrose Caucus said today.  Yesterday, Hughes – who also served on Premier Alison Redford’s transition team – announced that he will be running for the PC party nomination in Calgary-West stating that he would “welcome a health care inquiry” and believes he has a “record to run on and that’s more than any others have. And it’s a good record.”  

However, under Hughes’ leadership, Alberta patients have suffered through several crises because of poor decision making, including: 

• Long waits, shortages of supply and queue-jumping during the H1N1 vaccination rollout.

• The forced closure of the Health Resource Centre in Calgary despite the facility performing hip-and-knee surgeries roughly 40% cheaper and faster than in AHS hospitals.

• Wait times for cataract surgeries ballooning from eight weeks to 44 weeks.

• An emergency room crisis in 2010 that threatened to collapse the entire health care system, highlighted by a leaked document detailing 322 emergency room horror stories. 

• Allegations of political interference from the former CEO Dr. Stephen Duckett.

• Shutting down important and potentially life-saving cancer pathology testing at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.

• Repeated reports and allegations of physician intimidation and bullying. '

“Perhaps the only thing scarier than AHS Board Chair Ken Hughes would be Health Minister Ken Hughes,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said. “Under his watch, public health care in Alberta has deteriorated perhaps faster than it ever has before and now he wants to get even closer to Premier Redford and her inner circle.”  Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said that Hughes failed to give Albertans a more efficient, responsive and transparent health system and his record is exactly why a public health inquiry is needed.  “Albertans want a government that recognizes there is a problem with their health system and is willing to do something about it,” Forsyth said. “It’s time for Ms. Redford to fulfill her promise with a full public inquiry to expose the cobwebs Hughes has left behind – the health professionals, who are the glue of our health care system, deserve as much.”  The Wildrose Caucus stands for free enterprise, less government, increased personal freedom and democracy.