Thursday, September 24, 2009


The Alberta government slashes hundreds of hospital beds in Calgary and Edmonton (While promising no cuts in the rural hospitals of their electoral base) but we've apparently got over 12 million spare dollars to shell out to an American company for unspecified health consulting services.

Alberta's health ministry shelled out $12.2 million to get health-care advice from a U.S.-headquartered company, even as the province struggles to cut spending in the field, Edmonton-Gold Bar Liberal MLA Hugh MacDonald revealed yesterday.

"We seem to have a lot of money for high-priced consultants, but very little for the system itself," said the Grit finance critic who is demanding that any and all reports by consultants McKinsey & Company Canada be made public immediately so Albertans can see the advice given to the ministry and determine if there was value for the money spent.

MacDonald said he discovered the grand total paid to McKinsey after digging into just-released public accounts documents that detail spending in the fiscal year that ended March 31.

The province, through its superboard Alberta Health Services (AHS), is trying to pare back spending in the wake of a $1.3-billion budget deficit.

MacDonald said McKinsey received a big increase in business considering it was paid $620,000 by the province in the previous fiscal year.

"Whatever advice they are providing to the health minister, the minister should make that advice public," said MacDonald.

"The taxpayers are paying for it, so surely they have the right to know what information has been provided to the minister such as which hospitals are going to close or which are going to see their services reduced and what staff are going to be eliminated."

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