Friday, July 10, 2009

Health workers in Alberta told to shut up.

Notley is right. The weasel words in the document about conduct that is detrimental to the Alberta Health Care Services resulting in possble disciplinary action even termination if workers speak out is quite intimidating. Any criticism of the Super Board or of the way that the system fails to meet Alberta health care needs could theoretically be taken as detrimental to the Alberta Health Care Services. Almost any criticism of the system could be interpreted detrimental to Alberta Health Care Services if it happens to go against the interest of the powerful within that body.Indeed probably many actions that would better Alberta health care might be detrimental to Alberta Health Care Services at least in the opinion of those who count in that august Institution.

This is from the Edmonton Sun.

Health workers told to shut up

Alberta health-care workers need whistleblower legislation to allow them to speak out about flaws in the system, says NDP house leader Rachel Notley.

The Edmonton-Strathcona MLA is concerned about the recently released Alberta Health Services code of conduct, saying it's intimidating to workers.

"Health-care workers who are critical of government cuts are being told that if they don't shut up, they'll be fired," Notley said.

"The government needs to immediately draft whistle-blower legislation allowing these people to freely express their opinions."

Notley is particularly concerned about a segment of the document that reads: "Conduct that adversely affects the interests of Alberta Health Services ... could result in disciplinary action, even dismissal or termination."

She said it's vital workers be able to speak up amid news of hiring freezes, reduction in accessibility to MRIs and fears over closures of long-term care facilities.

"Just last month at an NDP health-care town hall meeting in Lethbridge, we heard from a nurse who feared repercussions for speaking out," Notley said. "This code of conduct is her fears come true."

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