Letter – Now is not the time!

To: Hon. Tyler Shandro,
Minister of Health of Alberta;
Hon. Jason Kenny, Premier of Alberta;
MLA David Shepherd,
Opposition Health Critic;
Dr. Christine Molnar, President of the Alberta Medical Association;
Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health of Canada

Dear minister of health, premier and leaders of the Government of Alberta, We are the front-line doctors serving patients across Alberta in this unprecedented time.

The proposed changes that will be initiated April 1, are detrimental to our patients and the healthcare system. Now is not the time to restructure the system that we understand and intrinsically know how to operate.

COVID-19 is spreading like a wildfire in this province. We are a strong and trusted team who require necessary resources to help us put out this fire.

We oppose this government’s implementation of harmful actions targeted towards our public healthcare system. These actions will destabilize an already stressed healthcare system during this uncertain time.

We are essential responders that cannot be replaced; our crisis training will serve Albertans during this pandemic. Doctors cannot afford any distractions during this time where we are counted on to perform to the best of our capabilities.

Now is not the time for Albertans. Albertans are overwhelmed by the physical, emotional and financial issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. All Albertans are dealing with profound changes that are beyond their control. An abrupt pause to the proposed healthcare changes must occur immediately to avoid burdening and negatively impacting our Albertan patients in crisis.

Now is not the time for restructuring our healthcare system. In these uncertain times, there is an ever-growing demand put on provincial leaders. Both government and medical professionals provide essential services and our citizens look to us for stability in a world of ambiguity. Now is not the time to implement changes that will negatively impact the province’s ability to deliver accessible care under our already existing and exceptional healthcare system.

Now is not the time to under-resource physicians. These are unprecedented times that require extraordinary support and flexibility for clinical care. Physicians and medical support staff are performing beyond their means and are doing so with fewer resources.

More than 400 community clinics across this province are either closing or laying off staff. This will overburden and overwhelm community and inpatient physicians to provide services that put patients first. Virtual options for providing care must be made more readily available and require compensation equivalent to an in-office visit, thereby allowing for crucial time needed to reassure and address our patients’ mounting critical needs. We must have the necessary resources for these clinics caring for Albertans.

Once the essential health issues of Albertans during the COVID-19 pandemic are addressed, we are committed to ensuring the stability and financial feasibility of our healthcare system today and in the future. Until then, our immediate need from the government for stability, support, and resources is vital if we are to put out these wildfires for Albertans.

Your immediate response is critical during this exceptional, historic and life-altering period.

Editor’s note: This letter was signed by 800 Alberta doctors.

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