June 12, 2013
Firing board won't fix problems in Alberta health
EDMONTON, AB (June 12, 2013): The second Alberta Health Services board breakdown in three years is further evidence that the health superboard governance model has failed and significant reforms are needed, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
Health Minister Fred Horne’s dismissal of the AHS board today follows the 2010 firing of Dr. Stephen Duckett and subsequent resignations of board members. Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said the ongoing power struggle between AHS and the government has caused nothing but chaos and confusion in the health system and shows why the single superboard has failed. “Replacing one unelected and unaccountable board with another unelected and unaccountable board isn’t going to fix the problem,” Smith said. “The problem is the PC government has created a monster it can no longer control. It’s only a matter of time before we’re back here again, with an uncontrollable board mismanaging the health care system. The solution is to fix the system, not change the front office.” Smith credited Horne for doing the right thing today by firing a board that insisted on awarding senior executives hefty bonuses this year despite mounting debt and deficits and chronic underperformance. However, Smith said Horne needs to bear ultimate responsibility. “Before deciding to get tough with AHS at the 11th hour and taking this drastic measure, Minister Horne was completely absent on the issue of bonuses,” Smith said. “We raised this with him three months ago. He’s been ignoring it ever since, even publicly defending AHS’ decision to award them. We’re here today because Minister Horne didn’t show strong enough leadership when he had to chance to.” Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said AHS is just following the bad example the government has set with MLA pay hikes and increases to ministerial office budgets. "It is appalling and unacceptable that the PC government is pointing the finger at AHS and not at themselves,” Forsyth said. “Albertans should be outraged that the government is not taking any responsibility on this issue. It is the front line staff who are doing an unbelievable job holding our health-care system together, not AHS executives or government bureaucrats.”