SOS: The urgency is real

January 31, 2024

Dr. Paul Parks, AMA President

Dear Members,

Last week we released disturbing survey results including that 61% of family and rural generalist physicians are contemplating early retirement or relocation, while one in five fear they can’t maintain their clinics more than six months.

Those are the numbers. Today we are sharing some faces and voices.

If you follow the AMA on social media, you’ll already have seen today’s activity themed: SOS: The Urgency Is Real. Beginning this morning at 8 a.m., we shared a short video clip featuring a doctor's personal story. We published another at 9 a.m. and will continue to do so every hour for 24 hours. The messages we are sharing are from 24 frontline physicians who are telling us that family and rural practices are no longer sustainable and that they need urgent support in Budget 2024.

The 24-hour campaign will conclude tomorrow (Thursday, February 1) with a noon-hour news conference where media will have an opportunity to speak directly to physicians about their struggles to deliver comprehensive, life-long care for Albertans.

I appreciate that the Minister has responded to the campaign with a statement. As always, she emphasizes the importance of working together and this is a belief that we share. We recognize the financial commitments her government has made so far. At the same time, and as the campaign puts it, the Urgency is Real and we need to see that reflected in Budget 2024.

Thank you to physicians who have already contributed videos about their personal situations in this family and rural medicine crisis. Please encourage your colleagues to do the same. We need to keep these powerful voices coming in over the weeks and months ahead.

It’s easy to add your voice to the cause. Record a 20-second video with our easy-to-use video tool. Just share your name, where you work and the impacts you, your patients and your practice are experiencing in this primary care crisis.


Paul Parks
President, Alberta Medical Association

1 comment

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  • #1

    Julie Turvey

    Member of the public

    11:50 AM on February 01, 2024

    In my role of clinic manager, I am witnessing a steady decline of resilience among our physicians and staff. The growing impatience among our patients has our staff bearing the brunt of their increasing anger and frustration. The lack of access is being brought up in their appointments with their physician as well. Our lead doctor has taken on more patients than he probably should have, not wanting to abandon them after losing multiple physicians in the last 2 years. Our staff have had to direct patients to walk-ins and urgent care more than they should as we just don't have the availability. And, like many other family practices, we have had to make drastic cuts to operational costs and are unable to increase staff wages. How much more money will be misdirected on "tours" to investigate problems that have been shouted from the rooftops for years? How many more physicians and clinics do we have to lose because of talking rather than action.
    How high up in the government do we have to feel the impact before actual action is taken? It seems like the ongoing and increasing struggles of doctors and general public can't accelerate the necessary changes.

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