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Alberta spends too little on healthcare salaries

There were fewer front-line staff serving a larger provincial population. And they made less last year than they did the year before.

Between the 2017–2018 and 2018–2019 reporting periods, Alberta Health Services spent 2.97% more on salaries and benefits. That seems like a good thing, right?

Keep in mind, however, that compensation should match population growth and inflation to maintain service levels per capita and to allow workers to still afford to live. Population during the same period increased 1.43% and inflation increased 2.04%, for a combined total of 3.47%.

That means even though AHS spent $240 million more on compensation, it wasn’t enough. And that’s just on that one measure.

Not only that, but the total number of full-time equivalent employees went up by 2.7%, so most of that compensation increase was swallowed up by the new hires.

Actually, on that note, in the 2017–2018 reporting period, there were 79,442 FTEs receiving $8.082 billion in salaries and benefits, which works out to about $101,735 per FTE. (Remember, FTEs, according to the schedule 2, includes board members, executive, and management salaries.) For the 2018–2019 period, 81,566 FTEs received $8.322 billion in compensation, or $102,028 per FTE. The per FTE compensation increase is only 0.29%.

What if we removed the board, executive, and management?

Then we’re left with 78,452.64 FTEs in 2017–2018 and 76,381.13 in 2018–2019. AHS paid out a total of $7.847 billion in 2017–2018 and $7.617 billion, respectively, in compensation, for a per FTE rate of $100,024 and $99,720. It actually went down.

These are front-line staff—doctors, nurses, technical staff, and support workers. There were fewer front-line staff serving a larger provincial population. And they made less last year than they did the year before. And that’s before the budget cuts that Kenney just introduced. Wages were already down, health workers were down, and now Kenney wants to lower them even more.

You can read the entire report here (Be sure to check out Schedule 2): https://buff.ly/2s9I8uC

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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