Inquiry hears ER staff ordered to treat VIPs faster

An Alberta emergency room doctor has told a public inquiry medical staff were once pressured to provide faster care for well-connected people.

EDMONTON — An Alberta emergency room doctor has told a public inquiry medical staff were once pressured to provide faster care for well-connected people.

Dr. Paul Parks says that in the fall of 2007, staff at the University of Alberta hospital emergency room were ordered by an executive to see a — quote — “VIP” before they dealt with a waiting room full of other sick people.

The VIP was not named by Parks and neither was the executive.

Parks says staff balked at the request — they re-evaluated the VIP’s condition and decided the patient needed to wait like everyone else.

Parks says he and his fellow emergency room doctors agreed afterwards that they would never let anyone jump a queue for care.

The inquiry, called by Premier Alison Redford to look into allegations queue-jumping, began hearing from witnesses on Monday.

So far, executives have talked about preferential treatment being an accepted practice under the old regional health boards, but no one was able to cite any examples.

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