EDMONTON, AB (January 29, 2014): Alberta Health Services has effectively gutted their performance measures, obscuring data on crucial wait times and leaving Albertans more in the dark than ever about how the health system is performing, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
The latest AHS performance report released earlier today omits wait times for key surgical procedures, waiting lists for continuing care beds and zone-by-zone performance comparisons. It also changes the definition of emergency wait times in order for wait times to appear more acceptable. The end result is a report that is only 18 pages, compared with the 90-page performance reports of the past. Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth says today’s performance report gives Albertans an utterly false impression of how the health system is actually serving them in terms of accessing the care they need. “This report is a deliberate attempt to mislead Albertans on how accessible health care is in Alberta,” Forsyth said. “These reports used to clearly show the trends for wait times for critical procedures and how they compared with other provinces. All of that is now gone, replaced by handpicked data and standards that have been manipulated to give a false impression of performance.” Forsyth also blasted the new format for being annual instead of quarterly. “We’re spending $17 billion a year on health care and all we are getting is a flimsy report with faulty data once a year,” Forsyth said. “This government and this Premier pretend to be transparent and accountable, but this report is nothing but a smokescreen that hides the real facts. As our dedicated front-line health professionals continue to hold this system together, we must make sure Albertans know the truth.” Wildrose Seniors Critic Kerry Towle said the omission of continuing care bed wait lists is particularly troubling. “This wait list is what is really clogging up the system and causing all sorts of problems,” Towle said. “We need to understand why that is and we can’t understand it if AHS isn’t even reporting it.”