Premier side-steps questions about doctor's departures
Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach side-stepped questions Wednesday on whether three senior public doctors quit over a lack of direction in the provincial health department.
"The decisions made were personal, these were contract negotiations," he said. "They're contract negotiations between the three individuals and the ministry of health and I can't speculate."
Dr. Ameet Singh, an infectious disease medical consultant, is one of three senior public health doctors whose contract with the province is expiring at the end of August.
She denied Health Minister Ron Liepert's claims on Tuesday that she quit because the government couldn't pay her enough money.
"That is not the case," she told CTV Edmonton Tuesday. "Maybe he's not aware of the fact. It's not all about money. It's a combination of things."
Dr. Karen Grimsrud, acting provincial health officer and Dr. Gloria Keays, deputy provincial health officer, are also not returning to their positions in the fall.
The job vacancies come just three weeks after Liepert announced he was phasing out Alberta's nine regional health boards in favour of one superboard.
The premier also mitigated concerns Wednesday the departures would create a serious void in the public health protection.
"I'm very confident that we have the skill sets in the department of health to deal with any issues that may come forward, no matter what the situation is," he said.