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Alberta premier says journey to fix health system within 90 days to be ‘bumpy’

EDMONTON — Premier Danielle Smith is asking Albertans for patience as she embarks on what she calls a “bumpy” and “perilous” ride to reorganize the entire governance structure of provincial health services within 90 days.

Smith, in a speech to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, says it will be a mammoth undertaking, but it has to be done to fix a health system that is failing Albertans.

Smith has publicly blamed Alberta Health Services for botching its response to the COVID-19 pandemic by not delivering the promised extra hospital beds to handle the flood of patients.

She also criticized the agency for directing employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19, saying that led to needless vacancies and staff shortages.

And in her speech, Smith also laid current problems such as hospital overcrowding and long wait times at the feet of AHS.

Smith also reiterated there will be no COVID-19 vaccine mandates or public health restrictions to deal with the virus this fall, along with a change to the Human Rights Act to not allow discrimination on the basis of COVID-19 vaccine status.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2022.

The Canadian Press