Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is commenting on the controversy surrounding the resignation of former health C-E-O Vicki Kaminski.
Nenshi claims it may have to do with the health authority’s plan to centralize the 9-1-1 call centre for paramedics.
He says Kaminski told him the plan was going ahead despite his concerns about it leading to increased response times, and when he brought up the issue with Health Minister Sarah Hoffman, she put a stop to the plan.
In Kaminiski’s resignation letter, which just came to light today, she claims she left her job due to political interference.
Here is Nenshi’s full written response to the issue..
In a story published by the CBC today, former Alberta Health Services chief executive Vickie Kaminski alleges that she resigned due to undue political interference related to a plan that would ultimately reduce the effectiveness of EMS dispatch for Calgarians.
As I have expressed many times before, a plan to split up Calgary’s 911 call centre to have a separate EMS call centre is a bad idea that would lead to increased response times and inefficient use of tax dollars. AHS’s proposal would require citizens-during an emergency call-to provide information about the emergency to The City’s 911 operators (for first response dispatch by the Calgary Fire Department) and then be transferred to an AHS call centre to repeat the same information to an AHS operator. All our analysis at The City of Calgary indicates that this would put our citizens at risk. The City has had an offer on the table with both the previous and current provincial governments for The City to continue to provide integrated EMS dispatch to AHS for the Calgary region.
I raised this issue with successive health ministers including former Health Minister Stephen Mandel who advised me that he was putting the entire project on hold due to his concern about the lack of evidence supporting AHS’ position. The City of Calgary believed that this issue had been solved. Immediately after the election, I wrote to Health Minister Sarah Hoffman stating our understanding of the situation. AHS then claimed they had no evidence of Minister Mandel’s earlier position, despite his having done media interviews on the issue.
Minister Hoffman then wrote me saying she had instructed Ms. Kaminski and the Deputy Minister to meet with me to address my concerns. Instead, Ms. Kaminski called me to inform me that AHS was going ahead with the transfer and this was not up for debate, even though they had not addressed our concerns and despite our previous communication with Minister Mandel.
Given Ms. Kaminski’s refusal to listen to our legitimate concerns, I raised these issues directly with the Minister, who took immediate action. Minister Hoffman, to her great credit, put the transfer on hold and has repeatedly promised that she would get answers to The City’s questions about the 911 service change-questions which AHS had refused to answer over a period of many years. Minister Hoffman did the right thing for Calgarians and she should be applauded for her actions.
As for Ms. Kaminski, her admission in her letter of resignation that she was planning on delaying an announcement until after the provincial election and then betraying Calgarians by ramming it through is nothing short of shocking.
This is not how AHS should be run and not what the citizens who pay the bills expect from our public servants. Minister Hoffman’s putting a stop to these games is not “political interference,” it’s proper governance of Alberta’s largest expense.
We look forward to ending this misbegotten experiment with 911 once and for all and working with the new AHS board and management to ensure the best possible health care for Albertans.