Prove it, Gene

Media Appearances, Healthcare & Welfare, Frontier Centre

David Swann proposes a breakup of Alberta Health Services into smaller regional health authorities. Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky tells us this would not be wise as "the centralized board has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of savings, all of which is going back into health care."

Albertans will welcome smaller and more userfriendly health regions. Under centralization, waiting lists grew, staff morale plummeted, the sick lost trust and costs to both the sick and the province have been high. Albertans connect the policies in use and the centralization model to Alberta’s low performance rankings.

The Frontier Centre for Public Policy’s report of December 2010 scored Alberta third from last among the provinces.

"Poor" grades were given for patient satisfaction, access to family doctors and specialists, prompt radiation therapy, cataract removal and infant mortality. Some programs scored highly, but overall, the poor ratings outnumbered the good -hardly measures of success.

To back up his assertions, the onus is on Zwozdesky to demonstrate to Albertans that these millions were saved and directly reinvested into improvements that reach the sick and the frail, that there is evidence that timely access to care has improved significantly, that staff morale and confidence have been measurably improved, and that tangible and meaningful local input and oversight will be restored.

Ralph Coombs, Calgary Ralph Coombs was president and chief executive of Foothills Hospital from 1973 to 1990.