Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA Dr David Swann launch EMS Hotline

Dr. David Swann and the Alberta Liberal Opposition have launched an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Hotline: 1-888-442-4664

The Hotline will give Albertans and EMS staff a chance to anonymously report concerns with the Provincial EMS system including delays in response times and hours waiting in ER hallways.

Swann and Khan exposed wasteful mismanagement within EMS earlier this year which delays EMS response times, impacts patient safety and increases staff overtime. EMS staff worked 135,000 hours overtime. That O.T. cost Alberta taxpayers around $12 million in extra wages in 2016.

AHS data showed that 2 member EMS crews spent 650,000 hours in one year waiting in emergency rooms to transfer patients to attending nurses. The median wait time in Alberta is nearly four times greater than the United Kingdom standard of 15 minutes.

Swann stated, “I believe the EMS Hotline will help us learn more about the crisis in our EMS system. Alberta Liberals will use this data to push for solutions and pressure the NDP Government to take urgent needed action.”

Khan stated, “The NDP announced $25 million more in spending for EMS in this year’s Budget. We still don’t know how this money is being spent or if it will address these issues.

“Alberta Liberals want immediate policy changes that will target excessive overtime hours and hallway wait times. Albertans deserve a better EMS system.”

In addition to the EMS Hotline, the Alberta Liberals are also issuing a survey to EMS workers to learn more about their workplace challenges and solutions.

Albertans can share their EMS concerns by calling the Hotline at 1-888-442-4664.Their identities and information will be protected. If they prefer to share their experiences in writing they can send an email in confidence to hotlineEMSalberta@gmail.com

Khan and Dr. Swann will host a News Conference at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, July 19, at the Calgary-Mountain View Constituency Office (#102, 723 – 14 Street NW, Calgary).

They will also be available for interviews by phone or Skype.


Alberta Liberals say it’s a bad decision by the NDP Government to drop Associate Health Minister from Cabinet

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann issue this release on the NDP government dropping the Associate Health Minister from Cabinet:

Khan stated, “The health portfolio needs two cabinet ministers. Its nearly half the provincial budget and is too big for any one minister to handle. The NDP Government has made another bad decision by eliminating the position of Associate Health Minister. It sends the wrong message to Albertans.

“We’re facing major issues in health care like EMS Red Alerts, the Opioid Crisis, a bloated AHS bureaucracy, and chronic underfunding for mental health and preventative health. The NDP have failed to adequately address these issues.

“The NDP talk about UCP cuts to health care. But this Government has done little to improve health care for Albertans. Now, they are cutting a key health care voice from Cabinet.”

Dr. Swann stated, “I had a good working relationship with the former Associate Health Minister. I’m very disappointed to see the NDP suddenly eliminate this key position. I will continue to hold the NDP Government to account on the health care file.

“Health care issues are numerous and complex. Clearly this NDP Government is not serious about fixing these issues when it eliminates a frontline health care cabinet minister.”


Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann releases statement on World No Tobacco Day

Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann has released the following statement World No Tobacco Day:

“Albertans have been waiting 5 years for the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act to be fully implemented and enforced.

“Restrictions on tobacco sales to minors, protections for Albertans from secondhand smoke at work and a ban on all flavoured tobacco products. There is no excuse for 5 years of Alberta Government delay for these important policies.

“Alberta also has the most affordable cigarettes in Canada due in part to having the ninth lowest cigarette taxes amongst provinces and territories. Raising the cost of smoking is one of the most effective deterrents and raises revenue to further efforts to save lives.

“On international World No Tobacco Day, we need to recognize both the past decade of progress in reducing youth tobacco uptake and also the gaps the NDP Government in Alberta needs to fill in the fight against tobacco use.

“I will continue to demand the NDP Government follow through on its pledge to stop all private meetings with tobacco lobbyists – an industry that profits from promoting a product that produces addiction, illness and death.”


Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann reacts to compensation deal with AMA

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann has issued the following release in response to the doctor compensation deal the Alberta Government has reached with the Alberta Medical Association:

Swann stated, “A two-year freeze on fees is a reasonable deal for both doctors and Alberta taxpayers. Doctors in Alberta are the still the highest paid in Canada.  This decision has contributed to stability in our healthcare system and held the line as our economy recovers.

“I am concerned with the longstanding pay discrepancy and conflict over relative income which again arose this year between specialists and general practitioners(GPs). GPs play a central and important role in first contact, access to testing and referral, and a continuing care role that includes preventative care.

“It is also clear that more focus by both the NDP Government and the AMA is needed to make progress on alternatives to fee-for-services in order to provide outcome accountability and bring down costs in the long term.”


Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann demanding answers on NDP secret relationship with the Big Tobacco Lobby

Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann is asking tough questions on the NDP Government’s closed door relationship with the Big Tobacco Lobby.

Dr. Swann stated, “I’m concerned the NDP Government is welcoming tobacco lobbyists to back door meetings despite Alberta’s commitment to stop these secret discussions.”

‘’It’s time the NDP Government comes clean and tells Albertans.”

Dr. Swann is demanding to know if the NDP Government is honouring its commitment to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC forbids meetings behind closed doors with tobacco lobbyists. Canada and its regional governments including Alberta are FCTC signatories.

“The NDP Government also continues to delay implementation of the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act.  It would only take a single cabinet meeting to implement this important piece of legislation. What is the NDP waiting for?”

“Albertans deserve to know if the delay in implementing the legislation is related to these lobbying efforts.”

“This raises questions about the NDP commitment to transparency on this issue.”

“Reducing tobacco use lowers both death rates and health care costs for all Albertans.”

Alberta Liberals are demanding the NDP Government start taking the health of all Albertans more seriously.


Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann calls for more transparency on licensed physician misconduct

Alberta Liberals are calling for a more transparent and open system of informing Albertans about licensed physician misconduct:

Swann stated, “Albertans deserve safe and trustworthy health care from their doctors.”

“I am pleased that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta is examining the issue of public disclosure of malpractice or poor practice. A more transparent and open public posting process of physician misconduct must be established to allow their patients and all Albertans to assess quality of care.”

Criminal convictions are not currently displayed on Alberta Profiles of physicians.

Several Alberta licensed physicians faced disciplinary action in other jurisdictions, but their misconduct record wasn’t publicly posted by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. This must be reviewed.

Records for disciplinary actions against physicians that occurred in Alberta, no matter how severe, are scrubbed after 5 years but are kept public indefinitely in Ontario and New Brunswick.

Swann stated, “We should carefully examine the Ontario model and other examples of best practice in public disclosure while protecting legitimate privacy rights of practitioners.”

Doctors from other jurisdictions are required to voluntarily report any issues when applying for an Alberta License from another jurisdictions but the Alberta College does not verify these and a national database of convictions and significant disciplinary actions should also be developed.

“Albertans, and excellent physicians, deserve transparency to build trust and improve safety in our healthcare professionals.”


Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann demands NDP Government end hallway waits for EMS

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann demands the NDP Government solve the EMS Crisis.

“More money for ambulances and paramedics will not reduce the wasted transfer time from paramedic to nurse in the ER”, he said.

Alberta paramedics are spending 650, 000 wasted hours per year waiting for patient transfers at emergency rooms with a median wait time of 53 minutes and 42 seconds. This takes ambulances out of commission and costs Albertans $20 million a year.

Swann stated, “In Great Britain any delay of more than 15 minutes is deemed a potential threat to life. When it hits 30 minutes it’s considered a crisis. So why is this NDP Government content to let Alberta patients wait for 1 hour?

“The funding increase from this Government is not enough. More money is not a strategy. AHS must shorten emergency room transfer times. The UK and Israel have done it. What is Alberta waiting for?”

 

Dr. Swann is available for interviews at 1:15 pm on the “INS” at the Alberta Legislature. He is also available by phone or skype.


Liberal MLA David Swann and Liberal Leader David Khan says EMS Union (HSAA) data shows systemic crisis

Liberal MLA David Swann says, “The NDP Government should immediately boost frontline resources for EMS across Alberta.”

“AHS statistics show EMS events are up almost 19% over 5 years but there has been only a 2.9% increase in new ambulances and 3.4% increase in new full-time equivalent paramedics.”

“EMS is struggling to meet day-to-day demands of Albertans and the situation is escalating.”

“The opioid crisis is only making the crisis worse and lives are at stake.”

“When ambulances cannot reach patients in a timely fashion the safety of those patients is put at risk.”

Liberal Leader David Khan says, “There are more than 63,000 extra EMS calls over the past 5 years and EMS is stretched to the limits to handle the needs of over 500,000 new Albertans.”

“The NDP Government must not only provide additional resources but improve the efficiency of the system with paramedics spending 650,000 hours per year in ER awaiting patient transfers to nursing staff.”

David Swann is available for interviews at 1:15 pm on the “INS” at the Alberta Legislature. He is also available by phone or Skype.

David Khan is available for interview by phone or Skype.

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For more information, contact:

Keegan Wynychuk
Alberta Liberal Opposition
Tel: 780.644.7719
Cell: 780.919.3158
liberal.communications@assembly.ab.ca


Liberal request for investigation into Pure North grants hits pay dirt

An Auditor General investigation requested by Liberal MLA David Swann found Alberta Health inappropriately awarded grants to Pure North.

“This confirms what we suspected,” says Swann, “I completely support what the Auditor has found, and I look forward to hearing how the Minister plans to clean up this mess.”

In a letter to the Auditor General last May, Swann formally requested an audit of the granting process and the effectiveness of the vitamin supplement program, citing concerns for public funds and potential public health risks to vulnerable populations.

The investigation found the grant lacked appropriate performance measures and reporting requirements, and concluded that departmental processes were not followed in awarding the grants to Pure North.

“How can Albertans have confidence that the government has their back when they turn a blind eye to such serious concerns as those raised by their own department, the medical community, and the public?” Swann asks.

Former Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jim Talbot warned against government involvement in the experimental program, but his concerns were ignored. Instead, the government wasted over 11 million dollars in taxpayer funds with almost no accountability whatsoever.

“This is scandalous!” says Swann. “Clearly, the money could have been better invested in areas that would actually improve our broken system. What does the minister have to show for this?”

Despite Pure North’s claims that its programs would save money and lower demands on the system, performance measures have not improved under the NDP. In many cases, wait times for ambulances, emergency visits, continuing care placement, and elective surgeries have increased.

“Albertans expected better public health care from the NDP, but all we’ve seen is a series of inappropriate decisions, more waste, and poorer outcomes,” says Swann. “Alberta Liberals have the right prescription for better healthcare for Albertans.”


David Swann response to the Q3 Opioid Report

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann released the following statement in response to the Q3 Opioid and Substances of Misuse Report:

“With each passing quarterly report, it becomes painfully obvious that the NDP government does not have a handle on the opioid crisis. A nine per cent increase in fentanyl overdose deaths from last quarter is unacceptable, and a forty per cent yearly increase is nothing short of a disaster.

“Despite these troubling facts, the NDP fails to treat this with the urgency and importance it deserves, choosing, instead, to rely on a piecemeal, reactive response to this crisis.

“It has rejected my call for the reinstatement of a Chief Addictions and Mental Health Officer to manage this crisis and guide actions on the frontlines in favour of an advisory commission.

“It refuses to declare a state of emergency, which may not give any additional legal powers, but would be of immense symbolic value. Affected families and organizations – as well as all opposition caucuses – have advocated for this declaration, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

“As Alberta approaches two overdose deaths per day, every report, and awareness event organized by groups such as Moms Stop the Harm and Changing the Face of Addiction remind us of the tragic impact of these preventable deaths and the trail of sorrow that follows in their wake.

“People are dying. I cannot emphasize enough that the decisions government makes are literally a matter of life and death. We need better leadership, more coordinated and comprehensive action, and we need it now!”