(BLACK PRESS file image)

(BLACK PRESS file image)

LETTER: Rural doctors in Alberta

‘The Alberta Medical Association has successfully negotiated for Alberta Doctors for over 100 years’

Dear Editor,

I was pleased to see that your paper covered the issue of local doctors threatening to leave Rimbey. But the cuts to doctors in urban centres should concern rural residents too.

This is not all about money as the UCP would have you believe. Doctors have been asking for arbitration for months and were willing to take a pay cut, but wanted input into how it was done so that they could still provide the best possible care for their patients.

If you ran a business, and make no mistake medical clinics have staff and overhead as well as patient care to consider, how would you feel if someone with no background in your field told you how to operate it? Not only that, your input into how to use your operating budget would not be considered.

Our rookie health Minister Tyler Shandro is a lawyer whose only experience with health care that I know of comes from the fact that his wife is part owner of a private health insurance company. No conflict of interest is implied here as he was cleared of that by our Ethics Commissioner.

The Alberta Medical Association has successfully negotiated for Alberta Doctors for over 100 years, but was not and is still not consulted about changes to our health care. Why won’t our health minister work with them now? Does he really believe that he knows more about providing care than the organization that represents Alberta’s 14,000 doctors, resident physicians and medical students?

This past Friday Tyler Shandro announced that $81 million will be spent to recruit rural physicians and to retain them. Shortly afterwards his office released a list of rural communities, about 140, which would no longer be able to access those funds. Shortly after that he announced that this was all a big mistake and that there were no changes to that list. All on his own.

While the AMA announced that they are pleased to see a temporary reprieve for rural doctors, the fact that their contract with the government was torn up before the end of its term means that changes, cuts and even our minister’s ‘uncuts’ can be made again at any time. Cuts for urban doctors have not been addressed. Should we be surprised that our doctors are suing the provincial government? Alberta doctors are left with nothing but uncertainty as they risk their lives and their families in the middle of a pandemic.

It’s time for everyone to let their member of Parliament know that we stand behind our doctors and trust them to look after us without this kind of uninformed government interference. And Tyler Shandro should resign immediately as he has lost the trust of our doctors by refusing to deal in good faith with the organization that represents them.


E. M. Schumacher

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An x-ray tech demonstrates the new equipment in use. (Photo Submitted)
New diagnostic equipment now operational at Sylvan Lake AACS

In August it was announced that Stephen and Jacqueline Wuori donated $850,000 to AACS

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which causes COVID-19, emerge from the surface of cells isolated from a patient in the U.S. and cultured in a lab in a 2020 electron microscope image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Alberta adds 463 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

The central zone has 818 active cases

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta identifies 573 new COVID-19 cases, 13 deaths on Saturday

There are currently 9,727 active cases of the virus in the province

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Red Fraggle, one of Jim Henson Company’s Fraggle Rock characers, is shown at Time To Play Holiday Show, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010, in New York. The Jim Henson Company says production has officially started in Calgary on a reboot of the original 1980s children’s puppet series, which was filmed in Toronto.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mark Lennihan
‘Fraggle Rock’ children’s puppet series reboot starts production in Calgary

A spokesperson says the new series will stream on Apple TV plus

Black Press file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate fatal pedestrian collision

A 37-year-old man from Maskwacis has died in hospital as a result of his injuries.

A registered nurse prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Yukon’s Minister of Community Services, John Streiker, says he’s outraged that a couple from outside the territory travelled to a remote community this week and received doses of COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-POOL
Couple charged after travelling to Yukon to get COVID-19 vaccine

The maximum fine under the emergency measures act is $500, and up to six months in jail

Metis Nation of B.C. President Clara Morin Dal Col poses in this undated handout photo. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Metis Nation of B.C. *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Metis Nation of B.C. suspends president, citing ‘breach’ of policies, procedures

Vice-president Lissa Smith is stepping in to fill the position on an acting basis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Payette shouldn’t get same benefits as other ex-governors general: O’Toole

Former governors general are entitled to a pension and also get a regular income paid to them for the rest of their lives

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Blackfalds RCMP investigate fatal collision

Preliminary investigation revealed a south bound pickup truck collided with an eastbound car

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Most Read