GRANDE PRAIRIE — Dr. Chris Eagle has been officially appointed to the job of president and CEO of Alberta Health Services for the next five years.
Eagle kicked off his new tenure by announcing $190 million in additional health spending.
“Albertans want to see, the board wants to see, and I want to see, greater emphasis on the areas where we can make a difference in the quality of patient care,” he said Thursday.
The cash will go toward improving hospital emergency department wait times, cancer care and continuing care. Some will be spent to shorten wait times for cataracts treatment, hip and knee replacements and cardiac surgery.
Eagle was appointed as acting president of Alberta Health Services in November. He replaced Stephen Duckett, who was let go over his management style. Duckett made national headlines when he refused to answer questions about health care because he said he was too busy eating a cookie.
Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky calls Eagle an outstanding, capable leader who will serve Albertans well.
The new funding is part of the government’s proposed budget which is expected to be passed later this spring.
Alberta Health Services also released a new report card on how well the province’s health system is working.
The report for the third quarter of last year says emergency department wait times are improving, but are still not on target.
The wait for hip replacement surgery averaged 43 weeks, compared to the target of 28 weeks.
The report says targeted wait times for knee replacement surgery and for continuing care beds are improving, but are also not on target.
“Our targets are intentionally ambitious and aggressive,” Eagle said.
“Setting goals for performance … is fundamental to transforming our health-care system.”