The doctor-patient relationship is sacrosanct

February 2, 2024

Dr. Paul Parks, AMA President

Dear Members,

Yesterday the government announced plans to restrict access to gender-affirming treatments for pediatric transgender patients. I immediately consulted with the Section of Pediatrics for the expertise these colleagues bring regarding these vulnerable patients.

Our pediatric colleagues have developed a statement of response that we fully support. I quote one sentence that I think really says it all: “The doctor-patient relationship is inviolable and sacrosanct.”

Thank you to the Section of Pediatrics for clear thinking and compassion on an issue that will dominate public and media attention in the weeks ahead.

In fact, this was the first topic I was asked about at a news conference I held yesterday at noon to follow up on our SOS The Urgency Is Real 24-hour social media campaign. I declined to take questions on the subject because we wanted to keep the focus squarely on the importance of family and rural medicine access. I did ask the question, though: If government’s proposals go ahead, how would our province provide care to these vulnerable patients, through all phases of their lives, without comprehensive cradle-to-grave family medicine specialists who do the bulk of this care? These practices are at risk and hence our SOS campaign.

I want to recognize and applaud four amazing family physician colleagues. They had already contributed videos, but were willing to spend some extra time to let the media know exactly what’s happening in community clinics in our province.

You can review their eloquent comments below. I've also included my opening comments for the news conference and my thoughts after hearing from our colleagues:

Ceaseless efforts are being made toward a last-ditch rescue of family and rural medicine in the context of Budget 2024. Yesterday's announcements affecting transgender youth may have seemed unrelated to the crisis in family medicine care, but in reality, only highlighted even further the critical, life-long care these specialists provide, and how our province would be lost without them. I will keep you posted on developments as the days count down.


Paul Parks
President, Alberta Medical Association

No comments

Commenting on this page is closed.

Alberta Medical Association Mission: Advocate for and support Alberta physicians. Strengthen their leadership in the provision of sustainable quality care.