It’s difficult to look at the provincial government’s ongoing health restructuring efforts and not wonder why our political leaders are failing to see what’s staring them in the face.
An engagement session was hosted in Okotoks last week, one of more than 50 being held across Alberta, as the Province solicits input from health care professionals and members of the public while it reforms the system.
The dog-and-pony show that came to the Best Western ballroom told attendees that we must all work together to come up with solutions, conveniently leaving out the fact that medical professionals have been telling political leaders what ails the system for years.
Successive health ministers have repeatedly been told that government must invest in front-line services as well as put far greater priority on recruitment and retention, yet instead of following that sage advice, we’ve got a restructuring effort in the works that seems like it’s nothing more than a rebuke of Alberta Health Services and its handling of the pandemic.
If the government is looking for input, late last month, the president of the Alberta Medical Association said the situation in family and rural medicine isn’t just bad, it’s dire, adding that a recent survey found that 61 per cent of family physicians are considering leaving Alberta’s health care system, either through early retirement or moving to another province or country.
No amount of restructuring will fix that issue, which is only going to get worse in the years ahead. The provincial government must address the root of the problem, not shuffle the deck chairs, because if it doesn’t, other provinces will continue to poach Alberta-trained doctors and nurses and exacerbate an already tenuous situation.
When you look at the restructuring process now underway, and the accompanying public relations charade, it’s hard not to view this exercise as a case of government fiddling while Rome burns.