Edmonton – After AHS delivered ominous news about Alberta’s dwindling hospital capacity during a raging pandemic tonight (Sept. 15), the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) is calling on the UCP to reverse all cuts it has made to the healthcare system and to immediately trash the ones it has planned.
“Beds, ventilators, staff, medications – you heard Dr. Verna Yiu,” says AUPE Vice-President Bonnie Gostola, “these are the things our hospitals are running out of right now – literally the most basic, life-saving components. Now, AHS is on the verge of triaging. That shouldn’t be happening in our hospitals."
She blames the Premier and his dangerous ideological agenda. “He didn’t take COVID-19 seriously, and he made a joke out of our healthcare system in the last two and half years. Now people are dying preventable deaths.”
AUPE points to the UCP’s last two provincial budgets as the Premier’s first failings. Budget 2019, failed to provide healthcare with the funding it needed to keep up with inflation and population increases. Then in Budget 2020, Kenney’s administration cut $129 million from the system’s total operating budget. And these numbers don’t even capture all the physicians they drove out of the province.
Gostola says that a pandemic and a second state of public health emergency calls for an immediate overhaul of these attacks on the medical system. The union is demanding emergency healthcare funding now. It’s also calling for a full-stop to the UCP’s plans to outsource 11,000 AHS jobs, which will put even more pressure on rural Alberta’s collapsing healthcare system.
“Our urban populations are getting crushed by COVID, and our rural communities are absolutely starved for hospital resources,” says Gostola. “AHS says it won’t seek outside help until we’ve ‘exhausted every single option,’ but I can tell you right now, the most important part of our healthcare system is already beyond exhausted – and that’s the frontline staff. The people who deliver care. It’s time for Alberta’s officials to stop playing games and ‘step up’ like they keep telling the rest of us to do.”
Last week, AUPE slammed the provincial government for blundering their 4th wave response and failing to protect Albertans from total disaster. Today’s (sept. 15) press conference confirms that their negligence has finally broke Alberta’s hospital system.
“Excuses are no longer acceptable!” says Gostola “Albertans need solutions because the pain is far from over. The death toll grows. The Premier is coming in too little, too late today, but there’s still time to implement solutions, and we’re going to ensure he actually does right by frontline workers and all Albertans.”
For more information, contact Celia Shea at 780-720-8122