EDMONTON – The head of Alberta Health Services says while she respects everyone’s right to protest, she finds herself frustrated with some demonstrators’ attacks on healthcare staff at the province’s hospitals.
“I am aware of instances where AHS employees were yelled at, and subjected to harassment. Some did not feel safe walking to and from their workplace,” AHS CEO and President Verna Yiu in an op-ed shared with media Friday.
She says she’s been made aware that some patients and families were obstructed as they entered medical centres to receive care.
“That is uncalled for and extremely unsettling,” she wrote.
“If you oppose masking, vaccinations, or any other measures taken to prevent COVID-19 transmission, that is your right. But to target healthcare workers with anger and vitriol is not acceptable, particularly now.”
People opposing mask mandates and vaccine passports being introduced by businesses and provinces in Canada have taken to their local health hubs to stage protests.
The largest protests were held elsewhere, but some smaller groups gathered at Alberta hospitals this week.
Dr. Yiu says the pandemic has been long and exhausting for all, but healthcare workers have stepped up in incredible ways to protect Albertans through it all.
“Now more than ever, our physicians and front line teams need your support,” she continued in her letter, thanking those who have reached out to AHS staff to offer support.
“Our physicians and staff – and our hospitals and healthcare facilities – are very busy and the pressure is enormous. We should be there for them, just as they are there for us.”
She closes her message by urging anyone who still has not been vaccinated to do so and to consider wearing masks in public indoor settings and when physical distancing isn’t possible.
And stay home when you’re sick.
“Please do your part to help.”