Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Inquiry Judge Begins Hearing Evidence of Health-Care Queue Jumping in Alberta

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Inquiry Judge Begins Hearing Evidence of Health-Care Queue Jumping in Alberta

Article excerpt

Inquiry starts into health-care queue jumping

--

EDMONTON - A health law expert has told an Alberta inquiry that federal and provincial health-care legislation contains gaps that can allow people to skip ahead in the line for medical services.

William Lahey, a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, was the first witness to testify at the inquiry Monday into preferential health treatment in the province.

He said it's a concern that some people may have to wait a few months for diagnostic tests, while others can pay to have them done at a private clinic in a day.

Faster results mean patients can get onto waiting lists for surgeries sooner, he said.

Lahey told reporters the inquiry is the first of its kind in the country to delve into the issue of queue jumping in the health-care system. He expects many Canadians will be paying attention.

"There is a perception, perhaps, that there is preferential access happening, but no one has really studied or looked into it in a systematic way."

The issue of queue jumping came into focus in Alberta when Stephen Duckett, former head of Alberta Health Services -- which oversees the day-to-day operations of all health delivery in the province -- gave a speech in Toronto last year.

He said that when he took over as head of Alberta Health Services in 2009, he had to put a stop to politicians having go-to people in health regions who could facilitate faster care for friends, family and supporters.

The NDP then asked police to look into the matter. The RCMP investigated, but said it found only anecdotes, stories and rumours of queue-jumping.

Duckett is to testify Tuesday.

Premier Alison Redford ordered the inquiry in February after the Alberta Health Quality Council released a scathing report of abuse and mismanagement in the system.

The council heard from many doctors who said that when they complained about poor patient care, they were bullied or even fired. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.