I was amazed to learn that such organizations such as hospital auxiliaries and individuals who volunteer at the hospital complex in Lacombe were mailed a glossy 20-page booklet by Alberta Health Services, entitled Code of Conduct — Standards of Ethics and Integrity for the Alberta Health Services Team.
Accompanying the booklet was a letter stating that the “Alberta Health Services Code of Conduct applies to all staff, volunteers, students and health-care partners.”
Under the section titled Public Statements, it reads in part that public statements are only to be made by a designated spokesperson, and if one is approached by the news media to provide information and/or interviews concerning Alberta Health Services’ practices or operations, immediately refer all such requests to the Communications Department.
Sorry! Volunteers are not employees of Alberta Health Services. They are dedicated, compassionate, women and men who are providing valuable services to AHS, without charge I might add.
If volunteers are deemed to be violating this Code of Conduct by stating their views publicly, will AHS terminate their services, as is threatened in the “Consequences” section of the booklet?
That would be a bit like shooting themselves in the foot, I think.
Volunteers devote their time and energies to the well-being of patients in the hospital facility because they care deeply about the welfare of their fellow citizens. To attempt to limit their freedom of speech is wrong, and an insult to many people who have in the past been supportive of our current government.
I urge anyone who has benefited from the care of volunteers, or is a volunteer, to contact the following persons and tell them that for Alberta Health Services to attempt to take away the freedom of speech from volunteers is unacceptable:
• MLA Ray Prins, Lacombe-Ponoka constituency: 101 4892 46th St., Lacombe T4L 2B4;
• Health Minister Ron Liepert: 323 Legislature Building 10800 97th Ave., Edmonton T5K 2B6;
• Premier Ed Stelmach: 307 Legislature Building 10800 97th Ave., Edmonton, T5K 2B6.
• Dr. David Swann, Liberal health critic: 201 Legislature Annex, 9718 107th St., Edmonton T5K 1E4;
• Brian Mason, NDP health critic: 501 Legislature Annex, 9718 107th St., Edmonton, T5K 1E4.