Advocacy update and how you can assist

August 26, 2022

Dr. Vesta Michelle Warren, AMA President

Dear Members,

We have been actively advocating on a number of fronts in recent weeks. I hope you saw the PatientsFirst.ca report I shared last week about what patients who are waiting for care told us about their experiences. This initiative, supported by the Joint Physician Advocacy Committee, will continue in the months ahead and we will report again on what we learn.

Please note that beginning next week, you will have a new way to support the PatientsFirst.ca initiative. All full-time practicing members will receive two pocket-sized pads of tear-away sheets that contain a QR code and the website address. You and your staff can use the tear-away sheets to refer patients who are waiting for care to PatientsFirst.ca. (Please note that we have exempted or made special provision for sections such as laboratory medicine, acute care and diagnostic imaging who do not regularly interact with patients as the rest of the profession does.)

This is not the only advocacy underway. If you don’t currently subscribe to the AMA’s News for Docs service or follow AMA social media, you may have missed some recent opinion/editorial coverage.

  • Pharmacist led clinics
  • Keep primary medical care out of AHS purview
  • Nurse practitioners and siloed care

The Joint Physician Advocacy Committee meets next on September 7. If you have thoughts or suggestions we should direct their way, please let me know. I will stay in regular and frequent contact in the weeks ahead.

As I completed this letter, I received a media request regarding comments made last night by Danielle Smith, one of the United Conservative Party leadership candidates regarding actions she would take if elected as Premier with respect to the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta. My response today is this: The AMA supports the work of the CPSA in its important mandate to protect the public and guide the profession. The health care system is stressed and needs stability in both operations and leadership. I don’t know the legalities or possibilities relating to Ms. Smith's comments, but I think such speculation is not helpful at this time.

You can reach me any time in the following ways:

  • Communicate with me privately and directly by email if you would like a reply: president@albertadoctors.org.
  • Comment publicly on this President’s Letter (please be aware that comments are public, i.e., not members-only, even if you are logged in as a member).

Sincerely,

Vesta Michelle Warren, MD, CCFP, FCFP
President, Alberta Medical Association

1 comment

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  • #1

    arnold murray

    Physician

    11:58 AM on August 27, 2022

    We are short of professional health care workers! We are short of physicians!! Immigration is a poor and proven inadequate solution to our numbers problem over the last sixty eight years in my experience. Canada has been accepting immigrant physicians and we are still short supplied!

    I graduated from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, with an MD in 1954. At that time one third of the physicians practicing in Alberta were immigrant doctors and two thirds were Canadian graduates.

    I went to the Peace River country where I was the sixth doctor for a population of over thirty thousand people which was a very large population base for each physician. I was tasked one year with keeping a record of my working hours over a five week period for the Federal government . It averaged fifty hours per week.

    During my practice we were joined by a physician from an African country. He had left a country where he was the only doctor for one hundred and thirty thousand people. One British Medical journal reported North Africa had only one orthopaedic surgeon for the whole of Africa north of the Sahara Dessert. The shortage of physicians is endemic world wide!!!!

    The situation has not changed in the last sixty four years, to my knowledge, Canada still relies on immigrant doctors from countries which are in far greater need of their services than Canada. Even with the immigration of foreign doctors we are short of physicians!!

    Canada, in my opinion , needs three more full Medical University programs to graduate Canadian Physicians. In fact, as a “have” country we should be exporting physicians to places where the need is greater!!

    Could you do something to remedy this problem other than graduating lesser educated and trained people to fill the need as what was suggested on an Alberta Task Force for nursing education on which I participated. Canada needs to graduate more health care workers in every field!!!! We need more universities to get on board and produce these professionals.

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