Posted on Jul 1, 2020
SUNDRE DOCTORS LEAVE LOCAL HOSPITAL
EDMONTON -- Today, eight doctors followed through on their plans to resign their privileges at the Sundre Hospital in response to Health Minister Tyler Shandro tearing up the province’s contract with Alberta’s doctors.
In an interview with local media, Dr. Michelle Warren said she and her colleagues will focus on protecting their clinic.
“Nothing has changed for our group,” said Warren. “The government is doing what they decide to do, when they decide to do it, without any involvement of the Alberta Medical Association, without any involvement of physicians, without any real idea as to what they’re messing with.”
“I feel like we are settling in for a siege, and between COVID and the UCP, we are just going to try to survive and wait them both out,” Warren said.
The Sundre doctors were among the first to announce their plans to resign from the hospital in early April. Doctors have announced upcoming hospital resignations or clinic closures in Athabasca, 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.
The departure of the Sundre doctors from their hospital comes the day after residents of Pincher Creek rallied in their cars to raise the alarm for their own community.
"I have had many conversations with people in our community who are extremely concerned about what health-care options they will have in Pincher Creek after Aug. 1, if any," Mayor Don Anderberg told media. "Our doctors are potentially leaving in one month."
“Tyler Shandro is a complete failure as Health Minister,” said David Shepherd, NDP Opposition Critic for Health. “When respected rural doctors talk about the provincial government as a threat in the same terms as a deadly pandemic, we can all see something has gone terribly wrong.”
“If Premier Jason Kenney wants to solve this problem, he can get back to the table and develop a new contract with doctors through binding arbitration. He also needs to repeal the sections of Bill 21 that allow him to tear up any future contract with doctors on a whim,” said Shepherd.
“But after three months of the premier watching his rural health care crisis spread across the province, we must conclude that chasing doctors out of rural hospitals and clinics is the deliberate policy of Jason Kenney, as a prelude to closing their emergency departments and delivery rooms,” Shepherd said.