I read with interest your recent (Taber Times May 6 edition letter to the editor): “Urgent concerns around health care system”.
As a doctor with family roots in Taber and southern Alberta, I share the concerns of the Taber Clinic and Pincher Creek physicians.
The Taber Clinic is known throughout Alberta as a “shining” example of primary care delivery in the province’s health leadership circles.
Dr. Rob Wedel (now retired) and his colleagues have shown vision, leadership and commitment to the “medical home” model of primary care delivery for over 20 years.
While Minister Shandro and the UCP under the leadership of Jason Kenney would portray Alberta physicians as self-interested and self-serving, the convergence of evidence for most physicians and especially groups like the Taber Clinic, paints a different likelihood.
Furthermore, what has happened in healthcare, education and social services in Alberta over the last six months, during the first year of the renewed UCP mandate may be taken as an example of continued use of the “shock doctrine”.
The “shock doctrine” was first described by Naomi Klein in 2007 and is a theory that suggests that “crisis” is used as an opportunity by “right-wing” politics to de-regulate, privatize and cut funding to the “social safety net” that distinguishes Canada.
Alberta’s on-going economic dependence on the energy sector is the most recent cause and recurring iteration of economic “crisis”.
In spite of its election campaign promise, the UCP have not done anything to bolster the “medical home” but have in fact “gutted” the business model upon which it depended.
They attempted to remove the incentives that have helped attract physicians to family medicine and rural practice.
The government’s obvious proud support for Telus’s big business solution “Babylon”: a virtual care model that ignores the importance of a long-standing patient-physician relationship or continuity of care, is an example of this driving policy in Alberta.
It was introduced without any consultation with Alberta physicians.
There are many other examples in health and the other public sectors.
Adding insult to injury, the UCP cuts the public sector services, then turns around and hands out billions of dollars to “corporate” oil and gas who then lay off Alberta workers and funnel those public dollars to their shareholders.
As taxpayers, we are now paying for all the abandoned oil and gas well sites left by that industry after they reaped the profits during our “economic heyday.”
The public would do well to pay attention to what groups like the Taber Clinic and Pincher Creek physicians, Alberta teachers and other advocates in the public sector have to say about the politics and leadership of Jason Kenney and the UCP.
These doctors and teachers are invested professionals motivated to deliver the best services they can, given the politically expedient and election cycle priorities of our elected government.
Allan Bailey MD, CCFP