Posted on Jun 4, 2020
KENNEY’S RURAL HEALTH CRISIS HITS TWENTIETH COMMUNITY, WHILE SHANDRO MUSES ABOUT BREAKING UP THE ALBERTA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
EDMONTON - Families in Crossfield will be losing access to their family doctor following the announced that the Crossfield Family Practice will close.
“I am sorry to inform you all that Crossfield Family Practice is closing in 3 months (September 1, 2020),” wrote Dr. Patrick Bailey. “The practice is no longer financially viable as of a result of the Alberta Government cuts to Rural Family Practice and the associated impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic. I will continue to work in the Didsbury Hospital in the Emergency Department and will do Locum work while I look for an alternative place to continue practicing. The Location may ultimately be in Calgary, given the changes in Rural Family Practice funding.”
Dr. Bailey’s announcement in Crossfield follows practice closures or mass hospital resignations in Athabasca, Stettler, Sundre, Rocky Mountain House, Canmore, Cochrane, Okotoks, Peace River, Rimbey, Westlock, Three Hills, Bragg Creek, Drayton Valley, Cold Lake, Lacombe, Pincher Creek, Fort McMurray, Ponoka, and Claresholm.
Meanwhile, UCP Health Minister Tyler Shandro continues in his attempt to blame the crisis he created on the Alberta Medical Association, and has raised the possibility of breaking up the association after more than a century of service.
“In the coming weeks I’ll be reviewing whether there are alternate ways to negotiate with physicians, and I welcome feedback from physicians directly on this topic,” Shandro said in the legislature on June 2.
Dave Hanson, UCP MLA for Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul, read a prepared statement in the house the following day that included “There is a reason we have separate urban and rural municipality associations in this province. Perhaps it’s time to address this with physicians as well.”
David Shepherd, NDP Opposition Critic for Health, has received correspondence from doctors over the past 24 hours with overwhelming support for the AMA .
“The AMA is willing to help the government end this crisis, if the government actually wants to do that,” Shepherd said. “But it’s clear that chasing doctors out of rural Alberta has been Jason Kenney’s plan all along. Instead of trying to divide and conquer Alberta doctors, Kenney needs to get back to the table, develop a new contract through arbitration, and repeal the parts of Bill 21 that allow him to tear up any future contract a doctor signs.”