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Physician intimidation inquiry needed now

EDMONTON, AB (February 22, 2012): Premier Alison Redford should immediately call a full judicial public inquiry after today’s damning Health Quality Council of Alberta report confirmed widespread bullying and intimidation of health care professionals in Alberta. The report confirmed that more than half the physicians interviewed during the HQCA investigation felt their ability to advocate for their patients was limited.

 One in five said they encountered “active harmful obstruction” during patient advocacy efforts. “The frequency with which experiences of threats, intimidation, censorship, punishment, ridicule, bullying, or termination are cited is concerning,” the report reads. Also according to the report, physicians interviewed “felt ‘intimidated’ and said that physicians were ‘afraid to speak out’ and that if you spoke out you would ‘be in trouble and punished.'” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said Redford’s inquiry should focus squarely on the physician intimidation issue and how it has compromised Alberta’s public health care system. “We need to know more,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said. “Today’s report confirmed what we already knew – that this government has bullied, threatened and silenced our health care workers who stuck up for their patients in order to cover up the health system’s failures. Only a full, judicial inquiry with public hearings will get to the bottom of this scandal.” The PCs have repeatedly dismissed the personal accounts of physicians who have been intimidated as “workplace disagreements.” Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said the HQCA investigation only scratched the surface. “I know of several physicians who didn’t come forward to the HQCA during its investigation out of fear of retribution,” Forsyth said. “Only the protection offered by full and independent judicial inquiry will compel these physicians to come forward and reveal the full extent of this government’s bullying and intimidation. The inquiry must be called before the election is underway.” Wildrose stands for free enterprise, less government, increased personal freedom and democracy.