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Lethbridge added 28 physicians over the past year, AHS continues search for more

A patient is seen in a doctor's office in this undated file image. (CTV News) A patient is seen in a doctor's office in this undated file image. (CTV News)

Lethbridge has added 28 physicians over the past year, according to a quarterly report published by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.

That pushes the total number of doctors to 303 for the city of nearly 108,000.

The 28 new doctors is an increase of just over 10 per cent from the previous year. However, a backlog of patients is preventing doctors from accepting new patients.

“Physicians right now are all overburdened with 2000 or more patients, whereas the average physician should have around 1,000,” said Bev Muendel-Atherstone, the Lethbridge chapter president for Friends of Medicare.

“So if a new general practitioner comes into a clinic then they would take on half of another physician’s caseload.”

According to, there are no family physicians in Lethbridge currently accepting patients.

That leaves tens of thousands of people without a doctor.

“We have about half of Lethbridge suffering without physicians. And of course that means people are going to the ER when you would normally go to your physician,” Muendel-Atherstone said.

The addition of more doctors is good news but Alberta Health Services (AHS) is working to recruit even more.

AHS has developed an international sponsorship program, is recruiting Canadian and internationally trained physicians and incentivizing full-time positions.

"AHS values the work our physicians and healthcare teams do every day in communities across Alberta. We remain committed to supporting recruitment and retention efforts to ensure we are there for our patients and families when they need us the most,” AHS said in a statement.

The City of Lethbridge has also been working to attract doctors to the city.

In the spring of 2022 city council adopted new policies to attract physicians to Lethbridge.

“The City of Lethbridge continues to support efforts from our partners at Alberta Health Services to attract and retain medical professionals for the community,” the city said in a statement.

“As the municipal government, we don't have jurisdiction over health care, but understand a healthy and thriving community must include a strong base of family doctors."

More physicians appear to be on the way for Lethbridge.

A new medical training program at the University of Lethbridge is set to start accepting students for the 2025-26 school year.

Each general practitioner at the teaching clinic could care for up to 1,200 patients a year. Top Stories

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