The first review of Alberta Health Services in its ten years of existence has been completed.

The report contains 57 recommendations and 72 savings opportunities with the potential to save between $1.5-billion and $1.9-billion per year.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro says every dollar saved will be put back into the health system, adding it’s about freeing up administrative resources so more money can be spent directly on health care.

He says no hospitals will close and trauma centres in Edmonton won’t be amalgamated though some facilities may be reclassified or re-envisioned.

Shandro says those decisions will be made by AHS as officials spend the next three months developing a long-term implementation plan.

Vice president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, Susan Slade, says “when Albertans hear about reducing costs, they know this government means cutting corners – and cutting corners won’t work in health care, where decisions are a matter of life and death. Albertans know that the system is stretched to breaking point.”

She goes on to say “AHS is planning on laying off thousands of front-line health-care workers starting in April. This year alone, Alberta is expected to grow by 70,000 people. That’s about the size of Medicine Hat. Who’s going to care for all those people?”

The AUPE represents about 96,000 front line workers, about half of them in health care.