A new agreement that will significantly increase compensation to doctors in British Columbia has Alberta’s NDP calling on the UCP to take urgent action to keep family doctors from leaving Alberta.
“Many of the problems in health care that are impacting all Albertans – 17-hour emergency room wait times at children’s hospitals, waiting for an ambulance for hours, dozens of partial hospital closures – are a result of doctors and health-care workers leaving the province,” said NDP leader Rachel Notley in a statement.
She said Alberta doctors do not see hope under the new Danielle Smith government with the premier promising that the first 90 days of her drastic structural reform in health care will be “bumpy.”
“Now, with B.C. offering doctors hope and the UCP offering none, I fear we are at great risk of seeing doctors head west. We need action immediately,” Notley said.
On Monday, the B.C. government announced an agreement with doctors that was called a seismic shift and the best agreement in the country by Dr. Ramneek Dosanjh, president of Doctors of B.C. The agreement also addresses the time and costs associated with administration, and the need for primary care to be better integrated with the rest of the health system and social services.
Meanwhile, here in Alberta, Smith recently blamed healthcare workers for manufacturing staff shortages, Notley said.
“I would argue that this government, many of the people sitting in Smith’s new cabinet, have already run our health system right off the road,” Notley said.
“Smith leans on conspiracy theories about health and medicine, ignoring the advice of Alberta health-care workers which has damaged the government’s relationship with health-care workers even more.”
She asked Alberta doctors to please hold on.
“I know things are bleak. But we are building a team that is committed to working collaboratively with you on ending the chaos, that is committed to respecting you and the critical work you do and is committed to supporting public health care,” Notley said about Alberta’s NDP.
If elected the NDP say it would launch the largest healthcare worker recruitment campaign Alberta has ever seen.
“We will get started on that from Day 1. We know it’s part of being Canadian,” said NDP health critic David Shepherd.
“Our message to Albertans is this — you deserve access to healthcare when you need it, and where you need it.”