Council on Aging wary of Code of Conduct

Central Alberta Council on Aging is waiting to see if Alberta Health Services will modify its new Code of Conduct, which has been hammered by health care unions and the public.

Lacombe Palliative Care Society volunteer Margaret Linklater is not happy about the Alberta Health Services new code of conduct standards booklet.

Central Alberta Council on Aging is waiting to see if Alberta Health Services will modify its new Code of Conduct, which has been hammered by health care unions and the public.

Criticism of the code, which muzzles staff, contract workers and volunteers from speaking to the media and making public statements about health services, will be addressed at the Alberta Health Services Board meeting in September. Council president Sam Denhaan said Alberta Health Services looks like it’s trying to protect itself from negative comments it expects to receive about future changes to the public health-care system.

“The mission statement they trotted out when they started was full accountability and transparency.

“Well, it’s difficult to reconcile transparency with this heavy hand,” Denhaan said.

They don’t want any “inside information” revealed and the pressure to report on fellow workers who engage in conduct that may adversely affect Alberta Health Services or its reputation “smacks of what happened behind the Iron Curtain,” he said.

Margaret Linklater, a volunteer with Lacombe Palliative Care Society whose members visit clients in Lacombe health facilities, said silencing volunteers is “draconian.”

“I find it questionable conduct that they even consider trying to take away a very basic freedom from people who are volunteering,” Linklater said.

She’s encouraging Albertans to take their complaints about the code to their MLA, Health and Wellness Minister Ron Liepert and Premier Ed Stelmach.

Denhaan is also worried about the impact of the code on the 12 regional health advisory councils being created to provide public input to Alberta Health Services.

If there isn’t open dialogue between the health board, the health advisory members and the public, it won’t be successful, he said.

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