Posted on Jul 13, 2020
NDP CALLS FOR EMERGENCY DEBATE ON DOCTOR EXODUS, PRESSES GOVERNMENT FOR RESPONSE PLAN
EDMONTON -- Alberta’s NDP Opposition is calling for an emergency debate in the legislature in response to the news that almost half of the province’s doctors are considering leaving.
“It’s truly alarming that almost half of Alberta’s doctors are seriously considering leaving due to the attacks of Premier Jason Kenney and his Health Minister Tyler Shandro,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “Other provinces are actively recruiting Alberta doctors to move to a place where their provincial government respects their profession. Communities like Pincher Creek are staging protests in the street over doctor losses.”
There are several other pending issues that could make the situation even more dire. The province is currently disputing a $250-million lawsuit with doctors. Shandro also has plans to restrict where new doctors can practice in Alberta by applying conditions to new practice ID numbers.
Bill 30 would allow the government to stack the boards of professional regulatory colleges, and these government appointees could be used to punish outspoken doctors or frustrate their plans to leave their practices. Bill 30 also allows corporations to charge the provincial insurance plan, weakening the doctor-patient relationship and creating a new power centre in healthcare.
“Alberta communities are facing extraordinary difficulties in recruiting doctors from other jurisdictions, and Alberta medical students are already telling us that a career in Alberta seems like a ‘reckless gamble,’” Notley said. “I’m deeply concerned that we will not be able to replace the doctors that Shandro is chasing out of the province.
“Almost half of Alberta’s doctors are thinking about packing their bags now,” Notley said. “I think many more will be motivated to leave as their clinics and hospitals empty out and Kenney continues to attack the doctors who remain. If this government doesn’t change course, I worry that many communities will see a spiral of doctor departures.”
The NDP Official Opposition will call for an emergency debate and for a specific plan from the government to protect Albertans from accelerating doctor losses.
“The solution is actually quite simple,” Notley said. “The government should get back to the table and develop a new contract with doctors through arbitration. They have refused to do this, and if they have no other plan, it’s clear that chasing doctors out of Alberta is the deliberate policy of Jason Kenney.”