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AHS review suggests potential savings while protecting front-line services

Last Updated Feb 4, 2020 at 6:22 am MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – A provincially-funded review of Alberta Health Services’ spending has found $1.5 billion to $1.9 billion can be redistributed annually to better support patient care.

The Ernst & Young report, which was launched last spring, comes with 57 recommendations and 72 savings opportunities “to improve the quality and long-term sustainability of health services”.

The recommendations fall into four main categories: people and management, clinical and clinical support services, corporate services, and overall health system governance. Over the next few months, AHS says it will be reviewing the recommendations with staff and clinical leaders to develop a long term plan with the suggested changes in mind.

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“All recommendations in the report are being fully considered,” reads a release from AHS, but there are two exceptions.

The health authority says it will not be sacrificing any hospitals or merging trauma centres in Edmonton and access to care for low-income patients will be protected. AHS says some of the recommendations will be adopted immediately.

“AHS takes its responsibilities as fiscal stewards of taxpayer dollars seriously. We have already made a lot of progress and this report provides further opportunity to continue to evolve,” said David Weyant, AHS Board Chair.

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Health Minister Tyler Shandro says it all comes down to freeing up administrative resources to be able to spend more directly on patient care.

“Every dollar we save will be put right back into the health system to deliver on our promise to improve access and make the system work better for patients.”

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It’s the first review of its kind since AHS was formed a decade ago.

As part of the review, more than 32,000 AHS staff and physicians provided responses via surveys. A thousand Albertans emailed, more than 76 engagement sessions were held, and five zone-based operational leader sessions took place.

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In the responses, 90 per cent of AHS staff surveyed agreed that a key AHS priority is preserving and strengthening the sustainability of Alberta’s health system.

As part of the $2-million review, EY was mandated to:

  • Examine AHS’s structure and organization
  • Evaluate AHS’s programs, services and policies
  • Identify ways to make operations more responsive to the front lines and citizens
  • Comparing AHS practices to other provincial health systems
  • Gather input from employees, physicians and the public


AHS has around 102,000 direct employees and a budget of $15.4 billion.

READ MORE: Full EY report on AHS spending