This last week Minister Shandro announced a highly anticipated and welcome review of Alberta’s Healthcare System. The report, conducted by Ernst & Young LLP (EY), will look to maintain current healthcare spending while searching for greater efficiencies and more effective services for Albertans.
The review is the first in 10 years, since Alberta Health Services was formed. The report contains 57 recommendations and 72 savings opportunities to improve the quality and long-term sustainability of health services.
“The AHS review is a key commitment to Albertans, and I’m very excited about moving forward with implementation. Every dollar we save will be put right back into the health system to deliver on our promise to improve access and make the system work better for patients. It’s about freeing up administrative resources so we can spend more directly on Albertans’ health care.”
Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health
The recommendations address four key areas: people, clinical services, non-clinical services and governance. The government accepts the report, with two important exceptions: there will be no hospital closures or consolidation of urban trauma centres.
Internal savings will allow more money to be directed to patients and front-line care, and will help free up funds for more surgeries while diminishing wait times.
The report identifies a range of long-term savings initiatives with the potential to save between $1.5 billion to $1.9 billion annually.
Stakeholder input into the review process far exceeded any similar projects that Ernst & Young LLP (EY) has conducted across Canada. Staff engagement included feedback from about 1,200 physicians, 27,000 front-line staff and 4,200 AHS leaders.
Over the next 100 days, AHS will engage staff and clinical leaders as it develops a long-term implementation plan. The successful completion of this AHS review will fulfill an important platform committed to cut administrative costs while increasing patient care.
I am also excited to tell you about an incredible opportunity to honour and recognize those who help keep our communities safe. The Alberta Community Justice Awards acknowledge the people and organizations involved with crime prevention and community safety initiatives. This includes youth justice, restorative justice and other community-based justice efforts that improve safety and well-being.
Nominations close February 28 and the 29th Annual Alberta Community Justice Awards ceremony will take place in Edmonton in June.
Finally, in regards to our oil and gas sector, we have been receiving some great news and even better numbers. Since being elected, our government has focused on attracting investment and sending a strong message that Alberta is open for business.
I am happy to report that the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers expects total investment in oil and gas will be $37 billion this year – up $2 billion from $35.1 billion in 2019. This investment will support approximately 8,100 jobs here in Alberta and 3,700 jobs in the rest of Canada. This is in addition to the 533,000 jobs that Alberta’s energy industry provides across the country.
Mark Smith is MLA for the Drayton Valley-Devon constituency and writes a regular column for The Pipestone Flyer.