Media Release

Is Bill 24 Going to Limit our Ability to Find Answers to the Pathology Testing Controversy?

EDMONTON, AB - Today, Alberta Party Leader Glenn Taylor released the following statement on the announcement by Health Minister Fred Horne that he was ordering an examination of diagnostic imaging and pathology testing in Alberta:

“Yesterday the Minister of Health and Wellness ordered a thorough examination of medical quality assurance processes as they relate to diagnostic imaging and pathology testing. This is to be undertaken by the Health Quality Council of Alberta. Under the auspices, one would presume, of our new Bill 24.”

“I’m sure that we all remember Premier Redford’s promise to call a public inquiry into the allegations of physician intimidation and queue jumping. We waited two months for her to fulfill that promise. And on Nov 21, 2011 she did—sort of. She tabled Bill 24, the Health Quality Council of Alberta Act. Unfortunately Bill 24 just doesn’t cut it.”

“Now, with two other reviews on pathology testing already underway by the Health Quality Council of Alberta the Minister is directing another crucial review to be conducted by this same group, under the same rules, and I would expect we will get the same results. Nothing to see here, move along folks...”

“Bill 24, like the Public Inquiries Act, allows an inquiry to go behind closed doors if making the information public “would be injurious to the public interest”. However, Bill 24 goes further. It allows the HQC to go “in camera” if the HQC feels it’s essential to do so “in the interests of justice”. The only way to determine whether the HQC has interpreted either of these concepts correctly is to take the question to a court of law.”

“As we delve deeper and deeper into the challenges present in Alberta’s Health system, and as the Chair or the Alberta Health Services Board resigns, the questions of oversight and independent reviews by the HQC become more and more relevant and demanding.”

“Bill 24 created a “public” inquiry process, but it failed to include the checks and balances necessary to ensure that controversial testimony will not be shuffled behind closed doors. This is not what Albertans expect from a Premier who promised to be more transparent and to rebuild public trust.”


For further information please contact:

Robbie Kreger-Smith, Communications Chair

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