World News – CA – Two Family Doctors Explain Why They Are Leaving Alberta: « Doctors Feel Powerless »


Tan, who practices in a teaching clinic and provides palliative care in Calgary, had planned to continue working in the province for many more – at least until his son 11 years old finishes high school

But she said her plans changed in the spring when a protracted and bitter conflict erupted between the United Conservative government and the province’s doctors

Tan, also an associate professor at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, takes a new job in Victoria on November 15

« I am very grateful to have the choice, knowing that many of my colleagues and other Albertans do not, » Tan said in a telephone interview from Calgary.

« The truth is, I wouldn’t have looked for other opportunities without what is happening »

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Tan said she loved her job in Calgary, but it couldn’t protect her from political struggle – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic

The dispute began in February when Health Minister Tyler Shandro tore up a blanket compensation deal with the Alberta Medical Association

Total physician compensation remains stable at $ 5.4 billion in the government’s 2020-2021 budget, but a new funding framework changes the way physicians are paid

Doctors said it would force hundreds of clinics across the province, especially in rural areas, to cut staff or close

Some changes were reversed during the pandemic, but a July survey by the medical association showed at least 40% of doctors had considered leaving the province

Shandro said it was questionable whether doctors would move to other provinces, where they would earn less money. His press secretary, Steve Buick, added this week that he did not believe in the « rhetoric » that doctors leave

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta said it is doing their annual enrollment at the end of December so it doesn’t have current stats Buick said Alberta Health has access to the college’s quarterly figures, which he says show the number of physicians working in Alberta has not changed

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In 2019-2020, he said, 382 physicians left Alberta and 644 started _ for a net gain of 262 The latest data through June shows the same trend of net increases, a declared Buick

He also provided a risk assessment from Alberta Health Services from September 25 which showed that 80 rural doctors had notified their intention to leave, but only 12 of them had given a formal notice

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« We do not anticipate a shortage overall or in a specific community, other than the usual staffing issues in small centers, » said Buick

Yet the Alberta College of Family Physicians has said it is hearing from a growing number of physicians considering their options

« Doctors don’t feel like part of the team, » said CEO Terri Potter. « They’ve been told publicly they are greedy

The advocacy organization, which represents around 5,200 family doctors, has launched an online campaign to show the importance and value of their role

Potter said some doctors had taken steps to obtain licenses in other provinces and others had decided to retire two or three years earlier

« There will be a lot of movement, » said Potter, who noted that many of those leaving received their medical training in Alberta. « I’m really afraid there is a bit of a brain drain »

Family physician Dr Cian Hackett moved to Sylvan Lake and started working in Rimbey two years ago after graduating from the University of Alberta He said he planned to stay in central Alberta until his retirement

« When the changes of government started to emerge, my wife and I discussed the possibility of considering moving to another province, » he said. « We have decided for the moment to share our time between Alberta and Ontario « 

Hackett said he and his wife, who is a nurse, plan to move to Ontario after the pandemic ends

« We don’t see an Alberta that aligns with our values ​​- one that values ​​public health care and education, vulnerable populations, » he said. « We have stopped seeing it as a place with an economic or moral future when we think of raising a family « 

Hackett said he was concerned not only about the lack of stability in his practice without a framework agreement, but also about the steps taken by the government to reduce supervised drug use sites and review the criteria for insured income eligibility for people with severe disabilities

« There is no shortage of job opportunities – all of which are well paid, » he said « The government wants to make it a matter of paying doctors

Tan, who also trained in Alberta, said the pandemic has been stressful enough for medics and government attacks made it worse

« I only had a lot of fights left and I needed to recoup my bandwidth to do the job, to contribute to society as I wish »

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News from around the world – CA – Two family doctors explain why they are leaving Alberta: « Doctors feel helpless »



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