Alberta’s doctors pen open letter to Premier Kenney to halt healthcare changes

by Morinville News Staff

An open letter signed by 846 of the province’s doctors was sent Monday morning to Premier Jason Kenney, the Minister of Health Tyler Shandro urging them to halt changes to healthcare scheduled to start Wednesday, Apr. 1.

In the letter, the doctors say changes set to start later this week are “detrimental” to patients and the healthcare system. The signatories say while COVID-19 is “spreading like a wildfire in this province,” now is not the time to restructure the system that Alberta’s doctors intrinsically understand how to operate.

“We oppose this Government’s implementation of harmful actions targeted towards our public healthcare system,” the letter reads. “These actions will destabilize an already stressed healthcare system during this uncertain time. We are essential responders that cannot be replaced; our crisis training will serve Albertans during this pandemic. Doctors cannot afford any distractions during this time where we are counted on to perform to the best of our capabilities.”

The letter goes on to say that Albertans are overwhelmed by the physical, emotional and financial issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. With Albertans dealing with profound changes that are beyond their control, the doctors are calling for an immediate halt to the proposed changes.

“In these uncertain times, there is an ever-growing demand put on Provincial leaders. Both government and medical professionals provide essential services and our citizens look to us for stability in a world of ambiguity. As such, now is not the time to implement changes that will negatively impact the province’s ability to deliver accessible care under our already existing and exceptional healthcare system,” the letter reads.

The letter says physicians and medical support staff are performing beyond their means with fewer resources and that more than 400 community clinics in Alberta are either closing or laying off staff.

“This will overburden and overwhelm community and inpatient physicians to provide services that put patients first,” the letter reads. “Virtual options for providing care must be made more readily available and require compensation equivalent to an in-office visit, thereby allowing for crucial time needed to reassure and address our patients’ mounting critical needs. We must have the necessary resources for these clinics caring for Albertans.”

The doctors conclude the letter by stating that once the COVID-19 pandemic has concluded, the doctors are “committed to ensuring the stability and financial feasibility of our healthcare system today and in the future.”

“Until then, our immediate need from the Government for stability, support, and resources is vital if we are to put out these wildfires for Albertans,” the letter says.

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