Pressure on health-care workers to give special treatment to VIPs came from the very top, Alberta's queue-jumping inquiry heard Thursday.
It was not unusual for the CEO of the Capital Health Authority to call personally to let her staff know a VIP was in the system, said Deborah Gordon, senior vice president with the region at the time.
Sheila Weatherill did not tell her to do anything specific, but the implication was to make sure things went "smoothly," Gordon testified.
Gordon was also the recipient of a letter written by emergency room physicians in 2007 which raised concerns about chronic overcrowding in the ER. It also raised concerns over an incident where an executive on call asked for special treatment for an unnamed VIP in the waiting room.
Gordon never asked who the VIP was, and the executive who made the request was never reprimanded.
Instead, the incident was used as an opportunity for improvement, she testified.
The inquiry continues next week.