About 100 nurses and supporters turned out for the information picket organized by the United Nurses of Alberta outside Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre on Wednesday. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Alberta health-care unions say review could further destabilize system in crisis

Health-care unions say an overhaul of Alberta Health Services could further destabilize a system already in crisis.

Leaders from the Alberta Union of Public Employees, the Canadian Union for Public Employees, the Health Sciences Association of Alberta and the United Nurses of Alberta say it’s time to fix staffing issues in the health-care system.

They say they sent a letter this morning to Health Minister Jason Copping to request an urgent meeting.

Mike Parker, president of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta, says health-care workers can no longer ensure people who need care will get it in time and people are dying waiting for care.

He says the problem won’t be solved by a reorganization of Alberta Health Services, which delivers front-line care under the policy direction of Alberta Health, or by firing people or by privatizing more of the system.

Premier Danielle Smith has said staffing shortages were “manufactured by the bad decisions of Alberta Health Services.”

She blames the agency for long wait times for care and ambulances and has promised to reorganize its entire governance system and fire its board by mid-January.

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