Politics
Former Alberta Health Services boss testifies at inquiry

Former AB Health Services CEO Dr. Stephen Duckett is seen on a TV while testifying via video link from Australia on the Health Services Preferential Access Inquiry in Edmonton, Dec. 4, 2012.

Credits: Ian Kucerak/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency

JACKIE L. LARSON | QMI AGENCY

EDMONTON -- Former Alberta Health Services boss Stephen Duckett spoke of a system that granted preferential treatment to athletes in his testimony at a preferential access inquiry Tuesday.

Now a director for an Aussie think-tank, Duckett blasted former health regions -- and named names for fixers and those MLAs whose thirst for someone to “fix” things dogged him from 2009 when he took the post at the fledgling AHS to when he left at the end of 2010.

He verified text from his speech to health-care execs in Toronto in May 2011 via teleconference at the provincial inquiry into queue jumping at AHS.

“I’m told some of my predecessors CEOs had go-to guys for discreet waiting-list adjustments on requests from MLAs, a practise I discontinued,” Duckett told the Toronto group.

“There were a number of issues that were raised with me ... where MLAs or whoever would seek to have issues dealt with outside the normal processes,” he said.

“People want a point of influence where that influence could be channelled and we resisted that and were keen for those things to be brought up the chain.”

That wasn’t OK with Duckett, he said.

Two staffers were fired after public-health nurses administered H1N1 shots in December 2009 to the Calgary Flames. The deal set up to help the players beat long lines was negotiated by a non-AHS doctor who worked for the team and asked his friend’s wife for help.

The Oilers made inquiries too, Duckett said.
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