A large group of concerned Alberta doctors has sent off a letter to the UCP government Monday (Mar. 30) upset about proposed health care changes coming into effect on Wednesday.

The letter, signed by dozens of front-line physicians, is addressed to Premier Jason Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

It states now is not the time to restructure the system, especially with “COVID-19 spreading like wildfire” across the province. “The proposed changes that will be initiated April 1, 2020 are detrimental to our patients and the healthcare system.”

The docs say they’re opposed to what they call “harmful actions” targeted towards public health care in Alberta, saying these changes will destabilize an already stressed system during the current uncertain times.

The letter reads, “We are essential responders that cannot be replaced; our crisis training will serve Albertans during this pandemic.  Doctors cannot afford any distractions during this time where we are counted on to perform to the best of our capabilities.”

The physicians says these are unprecedented times that require extraordinary support and flexibility for clinical care.  “Physicians and medical support staff are performing beyond their means and are doing so with fewer resources.  More than 400 community clinics across this province are either closing or laying off staff.  This will overburden and overwhelm community and inpatient physicians to provide services that put patients first.”

The Alberta doctors who signed the letter say virtual options for providing care must be made more readily available and require compensation equivalent to an in-office visit, thereby allowing for crucial time needed to reassure and address their patients’ mounting critical needs. “We must have the necessary resources for these clinics caring for Albertans.”