Gateway Gazette

Barnes Calls for Immediate Answers on Fixed-wing Debacle

EDMONTON, AB: With the contracts of numerous air medevac service providers and paramedics ending in August, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman must immediately clear up a number of questions surrounding RFP practices at AHS, the Wildrose Official Opposition said.

Numerous questions have gone unanswered surrounding CanWest winning the AHS RFP for the fixed-wing air ambulances. Not the least of which are:

  • Why was a Toronto law firm chosen to oversee the secretive awarding of the RFP instead of an Alberta-based group?
  • How will the legitimate concerns of the service providers who lost out on this bid be addressed?
  • Has the final contract between AHS and CanWest been signed?
  • Could the current contracts be extended if CanWest does not have medevac bases established in Peace River and Medicine Hat in time for the August deadline?
  • Would findings of administrative unfairness result in cancelling the new contract?

“As a rural Albertan, I can say the dots just don’t connect here,” Wildrose Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes said. “Why are Toronto law firms picking and choosing winners and losers in our rural communities? The NDP cannot expect Albertans to trust that patient care won’t be negatively affected when these changes don’t seem to make any sense. It’s time for clear, transparent answers.”

Barnes said if CanWest signs the contract, new Medevac bases will be needed in Medicine Hat and Peace River.

“CanWest didn’t have bases in Medicine Hat or Peace River – two critical transportation hubs for rural health care – when they won the RFP, and the communities did not appear to be ready for an immediate new build at their airports, ” Barnes said. “Before the NDP presses ahead with this plan, we need to know if this situation has changed or if it has remained the same. Time is running out, and the health and safety of rural Albertans is at stake.”

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