AMA accuses Redford of doctor-bashing

The president of the Alberta Medical Association is responding to what he calls five days of doctor-bashing by Premier Alison Redford.

EDMONTON — The president of the Alberta Medical Association is responding to what he calls five days of doctor-bashing by Premier Alison Redford.

Dr. Michael Giuffre said Wednesday that Redford is trying to make physicians scapegoats for Alberta’s financial problems by implying they are overpaid.

He said the premier’s remarks that linked physician contract talks with the possibility of her government bringing back health-care premiums just don’t make sense, and won’t help the two sides reach an agreement.

“How do we go out and continue to recruit doctors when the premier is out there saying those kind of things, how do we keep our doctors here?” Giuffre said Wednesday.

“How do we do that when we have a premier out there devaluing physicians?Rather upsetting. Rather perplexing. Very irresponsible behaviour.”

Redford made her remarks about health-care premiums on Monday. The fees cost families about $1,056 a year before they were eliminated four years ago.

On Wednesday, the premier appeared to backtrack when she was asked if Alberta’s March 7 budget would contain tax hikes or a reintroduction of the health premiums.

“We are not considering at all either health-care premiums or taxes in this budget,” she said during a trip to Toronto.

The association and the province have been negotiating a new deal for doctors for almost two years. Frustrated by the lack of progress, the government imposed a deal on doctors last November, but later backed off, allowing talks to continue.

Earlier this month Giuffre said the association hoped to sign a deal with the government by the middle of March.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information reported last week that Alberta physicians made a gross yearly income of almost $350,000 in 2010-11, compared with a national average of $307,000.

The association said overhead costs eat up as much as 60 per cent of that $350,000.

Redford’s remarks about physicians were a continuation of a government campaign over the past few weeks designed to prepare Albertans for a tough budget.

The premier went on TV last week to speak about falling oil prices that are expected to reduce government revenues by billions of dollars.

Giuffre said the premier’s comments are not helpful and could amount to bad-faith bargaining.

“How does one interpret this form of intervention?” he said. “Is this what patients in Alberta want? I don’t think so.”

The doctors’ group is planning an event of its own in Edmonton this weekend to keep Alberta physicians and the issue of health care in the public eye.

Giuffre said the meeting will be about primary care centres and will include physicians and patients from across Alberta. Most of the meeting will be open to the media.

“We will seek the input of patients so that family physician care can become better and more comprehensive,” he said.

A similar meeting is in the works for Calgary.

Just Posted

Shale oil producer seeking long-term river water supply

A company behind what is billed as Canada’s first commercial shale oil… Continue reading

Red Deer’s crisis line workers are busy dealing with multiple emergencies

Callers need everything from mental health counselling to their basic needs met

Pleaded guilty: Ex-Red Deer teacher gets 3 years for sex offences against kids

SASKATOON — A former Saskatoon teacher who admitted to sexual offences involving… Continue reading

Rental market picking up in Red Deer

There are fewer “for rent” signs in Red Deer than there have… Continue reading

Alberta government to partially backstop new $2 billion dollar bitumen upgrader

CALGARY — The Alberta government is providing a $440 million loan guarantee… Continue reading

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Backlund scores OT winner for Calgary Flames in 3-2 win over Carolina Hurricanes

Flames 3, Hurricanes 2 (OT) CALGARY — Mikael Backlund scored 15 seconds… Continue reading

Glendening’s two-goal performance leads Red Wings past Oilers 3-2

Red Wings 3, Oilers 2 EDMONTON — Luke Glendening had a pair… Continue reading

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

OTTAWA — The Canada Food Guide’s familiar food rainbow has been replaced… Continue reading

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

B.C. animators land Oscar nominations

‘Animal Behaviour’ by Vancouver’s David Fine and Alison Snowden among several Canadians on the short list

Canadian talent abound on newly revamped Vancouver Whitecaps squad

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps may need to stock up on maple… Continue reading

China demands US drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

China detained two Canadians on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng

Most Read