My letter to Albertans and a new tool to better understand members

December 11, 2020

Dr. Paul Boucher, AMA President

Dear Members:   

COVID-19…Urging Albertans to do their part

Some of you may have seen the letter I wrote to Albertans urging them to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. This letter was published in both the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal this week.

In my letter, I stressed the critical importance of all Albertans following the latest public health restrictions. I recognized the various challenges presented by these restrictions – and there are many – but we are at a crucial point in this pandemic, and the daily actions of every Albertan really will dictate what happens next.

The impacts of COVID are real and are doing major harm. That is why I have implored Albertans to do their part while we, as physicians, continue to do ours. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be caring for the sick and in some cases under very challenging circumstances. We will do this without hesitation or complaint, but we can get through this only with the help of every single Albertan. I have faith that they will find it in their hearts to do the right thing. As physicians, we also need to set an example with the restrictions, your community follows your lead.

There is a “care deficit” building in Alberta, one that will have significant implications in the months and years to come. I would encourage all Albertans to seek care when they need it and to reach out to their doctor – including when they receive a COVID diagnosis. In these challenging times, when health care workers and the health care system itself are being stretched to the brink, it is more important than ever that patients advocate for themselves, pay attention to their health care needs and stay in touch with their physicians. We need to avoid the tragedies we saw in the spring; patients avoiding health care and presenting late and at a point when little could be done to help them.

Latest COVID info for physicians

We have been receiving many questions from members who are looking for further information on the latest COVID-19 protocols. As always, Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health are the primary source for COVID-19 information, but for easy way-finding, physicians may find it helpful to visit the AMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center for Physicians for quick access to the latest and most relevant COVID information.

As always, look after yourselves while caring for others. In trying times, physicians have historically risen to the challenge, occasionally at the expense of our own well-being. We have an extended period of extraordinary demands before us and our responsibilities may feel overwhelming. Stress and anxiety related to what we are facing and what we feel compelled to do will be experienced by everyone. If these feelings are affecting you negatively, please remember that the AMA Physician and Family Support Program is there for you. I recently recorded a short video highlighting why this program is so important to physicians. Reach out 24/7/365 at 1-877-767-4637 or visit albertadoctors.org/PFSP for more information.

Understanding members better

The AMA is dedicated to providing our members with resources, information and opportunities that support physicians. This includes gathering information that helps you understand the issues that impact our profession. With that in mind, we have created a new feature on the member dashboard to gather information about physicians who are changing or leaving their practice, and their reasons for doing so. The tool prompts physicians to complete a brief form about practice changes, including retirement, closing a practice, reducing or increasing hours, etc.

Information collected will be anonymized and used to help the Board understand what is happening on the ground in physician practices. It will also be available to any members interested in reviewing the aggregate data and related trends or projections.

If you have experienced a change in your practice, please go to the new ‘My Practice Information’ area on the member dashboard to update your practice information. If you know someone who is leaving or retiring, please encourage them to do the same. This data will be extremely useful as we continue to work on behalf of members.

Your comments on these or any topic are welcome always. You can reach me 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 on the AMA website (please be aware that comments are public, i.e., not members-only, even if you are logged in as a member).

Sincerely,

Paul E. Boucher, MD, FRCPC
President, Alberta Medical Association

1 comment

Commenting on this page is closed.

  • #1

    Theresa Hopper

    Member of the public

    9:16 PM on December 11, 2020

    Thank you for all that you and everyone in the health care field do for us. I’m heartbroken our Alberta people are not more supportive. Please know there ARE people doing the right thing! There ARE people who believe in you! There ARE people who are cheering for you and praying every day for an end to this pandemic.sincerely, Theresa.

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