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Minister releases statement on inquiry findings

August 21, 2013

Health Minister Fred Horne released the following statement today regarding the final report of the Health Services Preferential Access Inquiry.

“We appreciate the recommendations brought forward on how to further strengthen Albertans’ confidence in our health care system. We have accepted recommendations one, two and three in principle, because they involve legislation, and we have accepted all other recommendations in full. We will now engage in meaningful discussions with Alberta Health Services and the appropriate colleges on how we will implement these enhancements.

“We have always said this inquiry was about being transparent and providing Albertans with the assurance that their publicly funded health care system provides fair and appropriate access. So we’re thankful for the thorough work done by Justice Vertes and his staff.

“The Justice has delivered a thoughtful report that has great value. The report shows that Albertans can continue to have confidence in the health care system and it will be there for them when they need it.

“Justice Vertes found that the allegations of Dr. Duckett and Dr. Raj Sherman were unfounded. He also concluded there was no evidence to prove that any MLA had used influence or other means to enhance his or her own care or that of family or friends, and that MLA advocacy was an appropriate part of MLAs’ duties.

“Public confidence in Alberta’s health system is critical. The checks and balances Justice Vertes has recommended in his report will reassure Albertans that preferential access is not occurring so they can have the utmost confidence in their health system.

“We have already made progress on recommendations to reduce wait times, implement wait list management strategies, standardize referral procedures and booking systems, and to create a Health Advocate.

“Our goal is to ensure the health system is centered on the needs of patients and that all Albertans have timely access to the care they need. Working to achieve that goal will continue to be our top priority.”

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Editors note: Minister Horne will be available to answer questions at 2 p.m. today outside room 208 of the Legislature Building.

Media inquiries may be directed to:
Jessica Johnson
Communications, Health
780-643-9358
[email protected]

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.

NT3