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Premier Smith blames AHS for 'manufacturing' staffing shortages

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Premier Danielle Smith says the reason staffing is a problem in Alberta’s health-care system, is down to poor decision making by Alberta Health Services.

"I think that the staffing shortages have been manufactured by the bad decisions Alberta Health Services," said Smith, from the UCP annual general meeting in Edmonton on Saturday.

"Once the world knows as well that we aren't going to have vaccine mandates, I suspect that those who have been fired in other jurisdictions will know that they will have a home here."

Smith says she plans on restructuring all of Alberta Health Services, including firing the AHS board, by year end.

An emergency room physician in Medicine Hat, the city located within the riding the premier is seeking to win in a byelection next month, says he wants to sit down and discuss what she means by "manufactured."

"AHS is the people and the human beings that are in that system that make it work," said doctor Paul Parks.

"I'm AHS. Does the premier think I'm the problem? Does she think that the nurses, that are working unbelievably hard, are they the problem?"

Parks says the system is in need of dire help with more resources.

"I don't know what she means by manufactured either," he said. "I can tell you that the last couple years have been extremely trying and challenging and unprecedented. That's such a cliché word, but it's true."

NDP leader Rachel Notley also criticized Smith’s comments.

"These comments are an insult to every Alberta health-care worker who has endured the excruciating pressure of the past three years and every Albertan who had their health care delayed,” tweeted Notley.

"Clearly the UCP leader has no idea what’s going on in Alberta health care."

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