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Doctors give feedback on struggling Alberta health-care system


The president of the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) was in Calgary Wednesday night, meeting with members who detail the dire situation the province's health-care system is facing.

Dr. Paul Parks is on a province-wide tour speaking with health professionals about the challenges they face every day.

"There's no question we're struggling on a capacity and workforce front, with long waits in emergency departments."

The main concerns are two-fold, says Parks.

First, many physicians are worried about a crisis in family medicine.

They say access to a doctor is at risk because practices are no longer viable due to the current fee-for-service system, which does not leave enough money to pay for staff.

"We have a really strong plan around a funding model that can evolve family medicine, so it's not just fee-for-service with a doctor having the patient right in front of them. It can be done in a team based manner, virtually, in a lot of unique and clever ways," he said.

"What are you going to do with all of these Albertans? There are 800,000 or so that don't have a family physician, but what happens if more and more keep losing family physicians because those practices aren't viable."

The other main concern is acute care in hospitals, specifically capacity and workforce shortages that are causing issues in delivering timely care in a safe way.

"Morale is as low as it's ever been. Frustrations are as high as they have ever been, and in that frustration is genuine concern about how they are going to be able to take care of patients," Parks said.

He adds working on hospital flow and bolstering supports for workers is key.

The AMA is working with Health Minister Adriana LaGrange, to try to improve the situation.

"I can definitely say that the relationship we have with the minister right now is night and day compared to how things were with the last government when the contract was torn up and through the pandemic," Parks said.

"We're making massive strides on the relationship front." Top Stories

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