Thousands of Alberta Health Services jobs to be cut in effort to save $600M annually

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the province plans to cut thousands of Alberta Health Services jobs in an effort to save hundreds of millions of dollars.

Shandro announced Tuesday morning that upwards of 11,000 individuals will be affected by the layoffs, which are hoped to result in savings of $600 million per year once implemented.

Shandro said he doesn’t expect any front-line physician or nurse positions to be lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Premier Kenney and I have been clear, there can be no job losses for nurses or front-line clinical staff during the pandemic,” Shandro said.

“There will be no job loses for nurses or front-line clinical staff.”

Read more: Alberta Health Services review aimed at finding savings, improving performance

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Shandro said about 9,700 jobs will be lost through outsourcing support services such as laundry and lab services. He said about 68 per cent of laundry services in the province — from Edmonton and Calgary — are already outsourced.

AHS has also been asked to develop business cases for outsourcing both environmental and food preparation services in 2022 and 2023.

Shandro said AHS has also been asked to cut 100 management positions “at a minimum.”

“Out of 110,000 employees, about three per cent of them — 3,300 — are management,” Shandro said.

“The review of compensation would be for all the 3,300 management positions.”

Read more: Alberta government nixes AHS review recommendation to close 5 rural hospitals, Edmonton trauma centre

The moves announced Tuesday come following recommendations made in an Ernst & Young report, which was released by the health minister in February. The $2-million report was ordered by Shandro last summer to find efficiencies while not compromising care.

There were 57 recommendations and 72 savings opportunities identified in the review to improve the quality and long-term sustainability of health services, the government said.

Following the release of the report, AHS was asked to create both a short-term and long-term implementation plan. The moves announced Tuesday are part of the long-term plan which is expected to be implemented over the next three years.

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A number of positions will also be lost through attrition over the next few years, according to AHS president and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu.

In total, Shandro said about 11,000 individuals will be affected by the cuts. Shandro said labour costs make up about 70 per cent of AHS’ total expenses.

More to come…

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