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Another overcrowding crisis signals need for change at AHS

MEDICINE HAT, AB (May 27, 2015): AHS is putting vulnerable patients safety at risk by cramming them into hospital rooms that are dangerously overcrowded, Wildrose Shadow Health Minister Drew Barnes said today. 

A report surfaced Tuesday of serious overcrowding at two Calgary hospitals thanks to efforts from concerned front line workers within the health care system. According to the medical director for infection prevention control for AHS’ Calgary zone, overcrowding has gotten so bad at these facilities, patients are staying in beds less than one metre apart and are at “major risk” for secondary infection.  

“This is just the latest in a long line of troubling overcrowding stories from our hospitals including one where patients were being stored in hallways,” Barnes said. “Having patients on beds in hallways indicates that the system is broken, but hiding them in crammed rooms where they’re at an increased risk for infection is simply unacceptable.” 

Wildrose has long advocated to reduce managerial waste and prioritize more resources to front-lines including opening up shuttered wards at hospitals.  

“We need to restore local decision making in health care. This means eliminating the central AHS super board, reducing the size of the bureaucracy and properly funding the front lines,” Barnes said. “Clearly, throwing more money at this $19 billion system is no longer a solution. This NDP government needs to take some immediate steps to signal a change in culture at AHS and prevent this type of breakdown in front-line services from occurring.”