April 23, 2014

AHS failing on wait times in Edmonton and area

EDMONTON, AB (April 23, 2014): Wait times for several key procedures, as well as other critical performance benchmarks, are well below targets and getting worse in Edmonton and area, according to new data obtained by the Wildrose Official Opposition.

The data, obtained through Freedom of Information Legislation, shows that a vast majority of wait times for surgical procedures, treatments and other performance benchmarks tracked by Alberta Health Services continue to exceed maximum targets.

Not only are wait time targets being missed, but only one of the 12 procedures currently missing their wait time targets is actually improving. Wait times for the other 11 procedures are either staying the same or getting longer. Only three benchmarks are currently hitting their targets.

The data is contained in the 68-page AHS’ monthly performance report for Edmonton zone dated December 20, 2013.

“The majority of patients in Edmonton clearly aren’t getting the health care they need, when they need it,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said. “Virtually all the indicators we’ve obtained show wait times for important procedures and treatments going in the wrong direction. It’s another example of how Albertans continue to pay more and more for health care while getting worse and worse results.”

According to the data, wait times for cataract surgery, hip replacements, knee replacements, coronary artery bypass graft (level 3 urgency and “other scheduled surgeries” are all missing their targets and getting longer. Both the percentage of patients discharged from emergency within 4 hours and the number of people waiting in acute care for continuing care are also missing their target and getting worse.

A full visual representation of the data can be seen here.

Over the last two weeks, Wildrose has uncovered unprecedented levels of taxpayer waste inside AHS. Between April 2012 and September 2013, AHS spent $250 million on outside consultants for things like reputation reports and executive coaching. Between January 2011 and January 2013, AHS sole-sourced $1 billion in contracts in violation of their own policies.

Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth says the Edmonton wait time data shows how waste and mismanagement in AHS is affecting front-line care.

“When money doesn’t make it to the front lines, patients suffer,” Forsyth said. “As we have demonstrated, AHS wastes hundreds of millions of dollars on bureaucratic make-work projects that do nothing to help patients. It’s time for AHS to reprioritize and make sure dollars are going towards treating patients, not hiring consultants.”


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