EDMONTON, AB (March 6, 2013): The PC government should give Justice John Vertes an extension to submit his final report into health care queue jumping after late revelations at his inquiry suggested queue-jumping is taking place, Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said today.
In Question Period, Smith pressed Premier Alison Redford to allow Vertes more time to investigate leads uncovered at the Health Services Preferential Access Inquiry – namely that the Calgary-based Helios Wellness Centre may have been involved in jumping patients ahead of the line for cancer testing. “The Premier broke her promise to hold a detailed probe, yet, despite that, Justice Vertes exposed evidence that deserves further examination,” Smith said in the Legislature. “Will the Premier agree to raise the bar on accountability and transparency and grant Justice Vertes the time he needs to properly and effectively complete his queue jumping report?” Smith also tabled a letter Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth submitted to the College of Physicians and Surgeons on Feb. 21 asking them to investigate Helios further. “We have not been told what medical services Helios provided to its $10,000 a year private patients. We have been told that Helios did referrals to dieticians, physical therapists, kinesiologists and yoga lessons, but none of those straightforward referrals seem to justify their very substantial fee,” Forsyth wrote. “Any normal person would be left with the impression that something is amiss with operations of the Helios clinic.” It later states, “Charging someone for preferential access to the public health system is NOT private medicine if this occurred, it is simply corruption.”