December 4, 2023

Health News

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Premier Danielle Smith denies interference in Hinshaw’s hiring at Alberta Health Services

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is denying any interference in the reversal of Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s hiring earlier this month.

Smith touched on the issue on the most recent episode of Your Province Your Premier which aired on QR Calgary and 630 CHED on Saturday morning.

“These are decisions that are made internally … I was briefed after the news became public,” Smith said. “It’s up to Dr. John Cowell to answer those questions.”

Global News reached out to AHS and Cowell with a request for comment on Saturday. AHS referred Global News to a previously issued statement on Thursday saying it doesn’t speak on personnel matters.

“AHS doesn’t speak to personnel matters,” the statement read. “AHS remains firmly committed to working with Indigenous communities and will continue to work to provide culturally safe healthcare for all First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples throughout the province. ”

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This comes after it was reported on Thursday that Hinshaw, Alberta’s former Chief Medical Officer of Health, was set to begin working with the AHS’ Indigenous Wellness Core (IWC) in May. On June 1, a memo went out internally welcoming Hinshaw to the team, which led to backlash on social media due to how those on social media viewed her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alberta Health Services later issued a statement saying Hinshaw is not employed by AHS.

According to Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, former senior medical director of the IWC, her team decided to hire Hinshaw but it was suddenly reversed after being initially approved. Tailfeathers told Global News there was an extensive and competitive process before picking Hinshaw to fill the role of public health and preventative medicine lead at the IWC.

“My realization is that with all the experience and the work that I’ve done in Indigenous health, it didn’t mean anything,” Tailfeathers said on Thursday.

“Who rescinded it? I don’t know, and I think there are questions to be asked about why the job was rescinded, and somebody should ask about ‘did anybody think about the impact this will make to Indigenous lives in the province?’

“It breaks my heart to know that we worked very hard to start lifting the strategy but it was completely ignored and for some irrational reason, Deena’s offer was rescinded.”

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–With files from Saif Kaiser, Global News.

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