Airdrie: An urgent care situation

October 21, 2022

Dr. Fredrykka Rinaldi, AMA President

Dear Members,

As we adjust to the welcome realities of a post-negotiation environment and having an agreement with government, I want to assure you that our advocacy work will continue. Our health care system is still under immense pressure. As physicians, we have a responsibility to help Albertans understand what is happening and what is at stake. Our Care Deficit Assessment Series (CDAS) has explored some of those system-wide issues, including the crisis in emergency departments, children’s mental health and care of the elderly.

Today, we turn our attention to what is happening in the community of Airdrie. Like many other communities in Alberta, Airdrie is experiencing a health human resources shortage. The Airdrie Urgent Care Centre (AUCC) has been straining at the seams for many years, but that strain has been compounded in the past two and a half years and the situation remains severe. The small facility, which opened in 2007, now sees more than 46,000 patients per year. Wait times have grown exponentially longer and an average of 20 patients per day, or 19% of the total volume, leaves without being seen or against medical advice. Like patients presenting in other urgent care centres or emergency departments across the province, many patients are there because they do not have timely access to primary care or a family physician and medical home of their own.

AUCC staff welcomed the recent announcement that AHS has committed $1 million for additional care spaces and staff to support a “Fast Track” care model for less critical patients. AHS has worked closely with AUCC to address some of the most critical issues facing the facility, and physicians appreciate those efforts. Still, the fact remains that AUCC is struggling, and community needs have outgrown the capacity of the current facility and staff. I hope you will read the CDAS issue paper on AUCC for more information on the current situation and the solutions put forth by front-line physicians.

Unfortunately, other communities across the province that are facing similar crises. We hope to feature some of those stories in future CDAS issue papers. If you have suggestions on communities or issues we should profile, please share your ideas with the Joint Physician Advocacy Committee (JPAC) at

Keep standing with us!

The 2022-23 membership year began on October 1 and membership renewal is now open. 

After months of negotiations, the profession ratified a new agreement with government on September 28 but reaching an agreement was just the first step of many. Our focus now is on implementing the agreement and maximizing the benefits and opportunities available for physicians, our patients and our system.

As we move forward in a still somewhat uncertain environment, what is certain is that the AMA will continue to advocate tirelessly on your behalf. We will advocate to ensure physician voices are heard, to ensure our patients receive the care they need and to improve our system so that we can finally achieve some much-needed stability. To do this effectively we need all of our members to renew their memberships for 2022-23.

If you have any questions about AMA membership, please contact Jennifer McCombe, Team Lead, AMA Membership and Benefits: / 780-732-3359.

Please keep standing with us – RENEW TODAY.

You will hear from me often in the weeks and months ahead, and I hope I will hear from you too.

You can email me via You can also comment on this letter on the AMA website.


fred Rinaldi, MD, CCFP, FCFP, LLB, M.BA, MPA(HSA), BCom
President, Alberta Medical Association

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