AHS 'ripe for a bit of culling,' says senior doctor

Alberta Health Services announced cuts of at least 10 per cent to administrative services Thursday, a move many say is needed.

Alberta Health Services hopes the cuts will save nearly $35M over the next three years

Dr. Lloyd Maybaum of the Calgary and Area Medical Staff Society says now is an appropriate time for administrative cuts. (CBC)

Reaction to the news that Alberta Health Services will be cutting administrative costs by at least 10 per cent has been mixed.

While many feel the cuts are necessary to help streamline AHS, others want more information about how the cuts will impact health-care services in Alberta.

When the AHS board met Thursday in Lethbridge, they approved a number of cost-cutting measures including a hiring freeze on non-critical staff and a review of executive compensation.

"I'd like to see what Alberta Health Services is classifying as a non-critical job," said United Nurses of Alberta president Heather Smith. "It's not just a matter of who's immediately at the bedside but how decisions are made across the continuum."

AHS hopes that the cuts will save nearly $35 million over the next three years.

"These administrative cuts I think should happen in the background and be imperceptible to patients," says Dr. Lloyd Maybaum, president of the Calgary and Area Medical Staff Society.

Maybaum says all of the administration was necessary when AHS started up five years ago, to make sure everything was running smoothly. Now the times have changed, he says.

"You really need to go top-heavy with your administration in the beginning, just to get all your ducks in a row, all the new processes lined up," he says.

"We're ripe now for a bit of a culling and a bit of a pullback on the administrative burden."