What is the AHS Review Implementation Plan?

In 2019, the UCP hired a private consultant (EY Canada) to review the work of Alberta Health Services and provide recommendations on how to cut health expenditures. Once the  consultant finished its report, the UCP demanded that AHS developed a plan to quickly implement the recommendations of the review.

The AHS implementation plan was released on October 13th, 2020. In total the AHS Review Implementation Plan has 100 initiatives that will affect workers and patients everywhere in the healthcare system.

The proposals in the AHS Review Implementation Plan include:

  • Outsourcing laundry and linen services, inpatient food services, laboratory services, housekeeping, and patient transportation services. This will result in layoffs of up to 11,000 frontline healthcare workers.
  • Reducing staffing levels in nursing units (medical, surgical, obstetrical), operating rooms, intensive care units, emergency departments, long-term care facilities, laboratories, and pharmacies. This will result in layoffs of hundreds of nurses and other staff in clinical support services.
  • Rolling back wages, benefits, and other provisions in collective agreements across the board, especially targeting nurses.
  • Removing funding floor protections for LTC facilities and transforming thousands of LTC beds into DSL beds across the province. This will affect long term care operators and their staffing levels.
  • Increasing accommodation fees for seniors in long-term care and designated supportive living and for patients in private and semi-private rooms in acute care units, and imposing co-payments for seniors in home care.
  • Transferring the costs of drugs to patients by implementing a private model of pharmacy services.
  • Reorganizing what services are provided in small and medium community hospitals and increasing privately delivered surgeries.
  • Increasing the use of wander guard technology and bed alarms and implementing “tele-sitting” to replace staff who watch over patients or seniors.

Additionally, the UCP unilaterally terminate the contract with the doctors and expanded the role of for-profit private clinics in providing healthcare services. At its most recent general meeting, the UCP approved a motion to allow privately funded medical services, which means the complete privatization of healthcare, so that the wealthy can jump waiting lines and get services first, leaving the rest of us with lower quality services and longer waits.

It is crucial that we resist the UCP’s plan to layoff thousands of frontline workers, transfer costs to patients, and further privatize healthcare. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that robust public services are the lifeline of a prosperous and resilient society. We must support our healthcare workers in this time of crisis. We must build strong communities and take care of each other. And we must send the government a clear message that its policies are not what we want. Are you ready to send that message?