Rapid increase in AHS staff long term disability numbers and costs extremely concerning.

David Swann is extremely concerned by the rapid increase in numbers and costs of long term disability in AHS frontline staff

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann has expressed dismay that the numbers of registered nurses, practical nurses and radiation therapists on long term disability in AHS have doubled in three years and, not surprisingly, so have the costs.

Data contained in a FOIP request by the Liberal Opposition states that for frontline registered nurses alone, the cost of long term disability in 2012 was $8.5 million and by 2015 that number was almost $17 million. The total cost of sick leave for RNs in 2015 was in excess of $65 million dollars.

“These are enormous numbers,” Swann commented. “It is abundantly clear that something is very wrong inside the culture at AHS. The most expensive and, arguably, most important government organization in Alberta has been rudderless for years. We are now seeing the impact of this lack of leadership in much of the workforce.”

The FOIP also showed that the overall number one cause of long term disability was mental illness.

“Much is currently being made of reports that AHS managers are taking extended leaves. My feeling is this largely a symptom of a dysfunctional work culture rather than a case of employees taking advantage of AHS,” Swann continued. “The new board must immediately tackle the problems within its culture.”

“I’ve said publicly on numerous occasions that a survey of staff and management within Alberta Health Services should be a top priority. This new information confirms it,” Swann concluded.