Against Unhealthy Conservative Party cuts

Dear Editor:

This past week I received a letter from our family doctor in Three Hills. The letter informed me that he was closing his practice and will be leaving the province. This is terrible news why would such a fine doctor want to leave. I read on “This decision (to close his practice) is based on the uncertainty in Alberta, the tearing up of the physician contract by Health Minister Tyler Shandro, the lack of trust with government, and the pure attack on family doctors” (This is the direct quote from his letter). Now our family must try to find a new family doctor thanks to the UCP. Why would a young doctor want to come out to Three Hills, in Stettler seven family physicians have handed in their resignation for emergency room practicing privileges at the Stettler Hospital and Care Centre. Their decision follows one by the Alberta government to end its master agreement with doctors and introduce new rules starting April 1 (source CTV News Edmonton March 13). I suspect this will become a trend. In the past I have sat on the doctor’s retention committee and let me tell you it is no easy job to get doctors to come out to rural practices, now Mr. Kenney has made that even more difficult. If you have been to our fine clinic you will get a note that outlines some of the changes that effect the patients. Your time with your doctor will be shorter ten minutes is what you get, so you are recommended to prioritize your concerns. Prior to the Kenney cuts doctors were compensated for spending additional time with patients, now they would work for free, so keep it short. This might work in a city practice with lots of patients but one of the benefits of country practices is the time you can spend with your doctor to address ALL your health concerns. So you will now have to book multiple appointments and drive to see your doctor.

Now Kenney attacks your pocket book, if you are over the age of 74 your drivers medical is now no longer covered. That will cost you $120 (sorry seniors time to get rid of that non Greta approved SUV Mr. Kenney wants your limited income). One wonders what else Mr. Kenney is going to deem unnecessary to cover under medicare. What about telephone requests? They now cost $25 dollars and your doctor has less time to respond to them, so book an appointment for reviewing lab results (what a sound policy with the Corona virus now in the mix) or renewing prescriptions.

Lets look at the devil in the mix the Corona virus. In 1919 the Spanish Flu epidemic killed more people than World War 1 and World War 2 combined and we did not have the means of travel that we have today so Corona has the potential to spread in ways we have not seen before. We are fortunate that medical technology has come a long way in a hundred years and it will be a matter of time before a vaccine is created. Thanks to Kenney we will have fewer doctors to treat the sick as many will leave Alberta for greener pastures. In the meantime do what you can, don’t be a hoarder those repulsive people buying up toilet paper(?) and hand sanitizer fail to understand that the greater access people have to such items the better chance we have at holding back the virus until a cure is found. So if you care about your neighbour don’t hoard, self isolate.

In closing let your MLA Nathan Cooper (403.556.3132 or OldsDidsbury.ThreeHills@assembly.ab.ca.) or Health Minister Tyler Shandro (780.427.3665 or health.minister@gov.ab.ca) know that you support our doctors and are against Unhealthy Conservative Party cuts to your healthcare.

Glenn Harding

Acme, AB