Minister letter to CPSA

July 16, 2020

Dr. Christine Molnar, AMA President

Dear Members:

Many of you will be aware of the Minister’s letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons regarding what steps physicians may take in adjusting their practices and what he characterizes as job action. I fully support and respect the work that the College does in its mandate to protect the public, but there are great concerns with the Minister’s approach.

The Minister’s letter follows on the College’s own Advice to the Profession on Job Action from last week, a subject I commented on in my April 17 President’s Letter.

I have some comments to share with you.

First, many physicians are being forced to make difficult decisions. This is due to steps taken by the Minister that have exacerbated an already grim situation, arising from lack of support for community practices in COVID-19. This is not job action: it is survival.

Second, I understand that the CPSA will be looking at the standards established across the country, but I also expect that the CPSA’s current guidance is not out of line with what is in place in many other provinces.

Third, the legality of the Minister’s request needs to be understood. The AMA has sent the Minister’s letter to legal counsel for review.

Fourth, the Minister’s letter strongly reinforces our lawsuit – in my opinion, it almost makes the case for us. Given that we are left with so few options to express our needs and be heard, physicians must have access to arbitration. This Minister is attempting to close off all roads for expressing legitimate concern or taking legitimate steps in response to his unilateral actions.

Fifth, the demands of the Minster in this letter appear to further undermine the continuing self-governance of the medical profession.

In closing, I continue to be extremely concerned with the non-collaborative environment that is being created. With respect to our recent proposal, the Minister is even opposed to accepting the financial responsibility for new physicians, whose entry he will control under Bill 21 Practice ID restrictions.

This may be a moot point as he is creating such a hostile environment for physicians that retention, in addition to recruitment, will both become critical issues.

Patients will suffer, but the budget will be met.

In your service,

Christine P. Molnar, MD, FRCPC
President, Alberta Medical Association

3 comments

Commenting on this page is closed.

  • #1

    Leslie Kasza

    Physician

    7:55 PM on July 16, 2020

    It does not appear as though the Minister is interested in negotiating at all. These are bullying tactics that will drive many physicians to either leave the province, retire early or cut back their workload significantly. The most repugnant item in Bill 30 was increasing the lay membership on the CPSA council to 50%. Far too easily politically influence the regulation of medicine in Alberta. Push the court case as far as possible as I sense that Bill 21 and Bill 30 contravene the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Shandro's actions are vindictive, authoritarian, repulsive and will hurt patient care. He should have been fired or resigned long ago. This speaks very poorly of Kenney's leadership. The whole affair is disgusting, has been disgusting and gets more disgusting every day.

  • #2

    G. Searles

    Physician

    12:06 AM on July 17, 2020

    "You know, somehow "I told you so" just doesn't quite say it" - Detective Spooner in I, Robot(2004).

    I respect those who choose to serve in the College. It is what defines professions from other walks of life and service to society. It is a heavy responsibility.

    Unfortunately, there are forces that seek to corrupt this ideal for their own devices. Now the CPSA is being coerced (I think this is the correct word) to do the bidding of the government, not because it is right and noble, but because it is forced by legislational edict.

    If the CPSA refuses to do it's Master's bidding, the Minister has the authority to take over the College. So we all know what is coming.

    The Minister thinks he can snap the leash and force the membership to bend to his will, thinking that physicians will fear what the College could direct.

    One wonders who holds his?

  • #3

    Lynann Kroetsch

    Member of the public

    2:04 PM on July 17, 2020

    This government is not negotiating. It is dictating.
    Stick to your guns. I know how hard my family doctor works.
    I am tired of the half truths and outright lies of this government.
    I think you have the public solidly behind you so stay strong.
    We do not want private healthcare and are well aware ofthe fact that this government is trying to privatize whatever they can.

The AMA advances patient-centered, quality care by advocating for and supporting physician leadership and wellness.