Posted on Mar 16, 2020


EDMONTON - By ramming through changes to physician compensation, Health Minister Tyler Shandro is weakening Alberta’s pandemic response, according to a senior intensive care doctor.

Dr. Darren Markland works at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. He joined David Shepherd, NDP Official Opposition Health Critic, in calling for an immediate halt to UCP healthcare chaos. 

“The staff are stressed, they’re working long hours in difficult conditions trying to keep people safe and healthy,” said Dr. Markland. “We are spending all our energy preparing for the coronavirus pandemic, and we can’t fight a war on two fronts.”

Many of the UCP’s changes to doctor compensation are set to be imposed on April 1, 2020.

“UCP changes to doctor compensation mean that doctors across the province will see dramatic changes in their pay starting in just a couple of weeks and the uncertainty is creating additional and unnecessary pressure in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms everywhere,” said David Shepherd, NDP MLA and opposition critic for health. “As cases of coronavirus grow each day, the timing could not be worse.” 

Shepherd is calling for an immediate restoration of the contract with Alberta doctors which Minister Shandro tore up in February.

“It is staggering that this UCP government thinks this is the right time to argue about pay,” Shepherd said. “This is the time for our healthcare system to function at a level we’ve never asked for before. Minister Shandro must immediately end his attack on doctors and get out of the way of frontline healthcare professionals.”