Loading articles...

Mass exodus of doctors possible says Alberta Medical Association

Last Updated Jul 11, 2020 at 10:50 am MST

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – A survey from the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) showed doctors in the province are not happy with the United Conservative government.

The survey found 87 per cent of respondents are looking to make changes to their medical practices because of the new funding framework.

On top of that, 49 per cent are considering a move outside of Alberta, while one-third said they may retire or leave the profession.

“Over the past eight months, relations between the province and physicians have deteriorated to historic lows, driven by an extremely aggressive and inconsistent approach by the Minister of Health,” the AMA said in its report.

President of AMA Dr. Christine Molnar has called the province’s actions reckless and said she is concerned about the future of the health care system if this continues.

“Physicians have reached a breaking point. I’m deeply troubled by where this is going and what it’s going to mean for medical practices and patients in the coming months.”

Molnar added most doctors are frustrated with the province’s unwillingness to negotiate or even engage with them on important health care policy matters.

“Perhaps there’s another agenda at play here, but this situation isn’t about money. Doctors aren’t looking for more. We’ve made it clear to government that we are willing to work with them to meet their budget targets for at least the next two fiscal years, but they aren’t even interested in restarting negotiations.”

“That’s all doctors have been looking for–fair, reasonable, good-faith negotiations and respect for our arbitration rights as essential workers.”

Health Minister Tyler Shandro responded to the survey saying, “it’s questionable that doctors would leave for other provinces when statistics show they’d earn far less than in Alberta under the current funding arrangement.”

Shandro added the AMA has never presented a credible proposal to meet the government’s priority of keeping spending at its current level.

“The AMA needs to stop playing games and start taking the economic crisis facing this province and this country seriously. We’re still offering to hold our spending at the highest level in Canada, and frankly, that commitment is looking more generous by the day considering the fiscal situation in this province and this country.”

He said the government is looking at introducing doctor compensation transparency similar to what’s being done in other provinces.