EDMONTON - The Alberta government has tabled its proposed revamped Health Act, and the minister responsible says it heralds a new era of public participation in the system.

Gene Zwozdesky says the bill will establish ways for the public to have a meaningful say in the development of health policy.

The bill also sets out a health charter and a health advocate, however the final arbiter of concerns under both those new avenues will be the minister and not an outside body.

Opposition leaders says the bill is all air and no substance.

Leader David Swann of the Alberta Liberals says he's stunned the government needs to enshrine in legislation self-evident principles such as the fact a health system should put patients first.

Paul Hinman of the Wildrose Alliance says that because the health advocate is not independent, he or she will be just another layer of bureaucracy to protect the government.

Brian Mason of the NDP calls the bill a "lost opportunity" by focusing on grand principles and definitions rather than problems of wait times and overcrowding that Albertans want solved immediately.