Doctors from across the region stood on a soapbox last week to share their concerns about the impacts provincial changes to physician funding could have, and it’s not looking good.
I, along with a number of residents from across the region, listened to physicians' as they spoke about what the amendments could mean for Alberta healthcare.
One concerned citizen said, "If you aren’t scared, then you aren’t listening."
Her words rang true for me because I was terrified when I was going over the information.
I wasn’t only worried about that fact that the obstetrics department could close in Bonnyville, or that St. Paul’s emergency room would face a lack of staff. I was incredibly concerned for the people sitting on stage and what this could mean for them.
They’re already sacrificing time away from their families to care for their community, and they put themselves at great risk doing that. They put their blood, sweat, and tears into ensuring we’re healthy and they strive to take care of each and every one one of us.
Doctors from across the province took a stand when they realized just how these changes would impact their patients and they reached out for help.
At the beginning of January, I had bronchitis and had to go to the Bonnyville Health Clinic because I don’t have a family doctor.
My treatment was amazing, and the doctor I saw didn’t cringe away when I had a coughing fit as he walked through the door (I realize that’s his job, but I’ve had a physician make me feel worse when I was ill by jumping away from me in a similar situation). He diagnosed me, prescribed some medication, and answered all of my questions.
When I moved to a rural area, I was worried about the type of healthcare that would be available because of the struggles with the recruitment and retention of physicians.
I’ve only heard amazing things about the men and women who practice in the area.
We need to sound the alarm and let our elected officials know this isn’t okay and that something needs to be done. No matter what way you slice it, the new funding model will have detrimental impacts and could see a number of doctors closing up shop.
Rural Alberta can't afford to lose physicians, and we need to scream it from the rooftops until the right people start listening.