HSAA calls for full disclosure of looming crisis in health care

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) President, Mike Parker is asking Alberta Health Services (AHS) to tell Albertans how Omicron is affecting health care workers.

Edmonton — HSAA is concerned the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services is not being forthright with Albertans about the potential looming staff shortages due to Omicron.

“There is a disconnect between the lack of public health measures and what our members, other provinces, and municipalities are reporting. All of these other sources are saying that staffing levels are being severely impacted, however what we’re hearing from AHS is that there are “…no impacts to service or response times….”.

“Given the volume of cases being reported and the experience of previous waves this crisis is getting worse and to say there have been no impacts defies logic,” said HSAA president, Mike Parker. “AHS needs to tell us the number of health care workers unable to work due to COVID-19. And instead of spinning news about Alberta’s economic health this government must present a plan to protect people’s health.

“All of us have the right to know just how devastating these next few weeks might be and demand government action based on that information. It feels like medical decisions are being made based on politics rather than solid medical evidence. If that’s happening, government needs to get out of the way and let AHS step up and address this crisis.

“Albertans deserve to know how this government’s mishandling of the pandemic is impacting our public health care system,” added Parker. “Our members are being asked to work extra shifts and mandatory overtime while also having vacation canceled. AHS needs to let us all know exactly what impact Omicron is having on our public health care system and what the plan is to address it.”

While AHS tracks staffing levels, HSAA does not have access to that information beyond voluntary reports.

“Ambulances responding to emergencies from Hanna to Calgary, or from Lloydminster to Edmonton are not signs everything is okay,” continued Parker. “Staffing issues existed long before the pandemic and have been getting worse with each wave. Our members are reaching severe burn out from long hours under stressful conditions and emotional fatigue.”

The ability of HSAA professionals to continue to respond to this government’s failure to address COVID is not unlimited. Other provinces are releasing information about Omicron’s impact on health-care workers are releasing information about Omicron’s impact on health-care workers and Parker questions why Albertans don’t have access to the same information.

HSAA is 28,000 health-care professionals dedicated to protecting the public health system and the vulnerable Albertans who rely on it.