An open letter to Grant Hunter, Alberta MLA

This isn’t directly involving COVID-19, but it kind of does because we’re in the midst of COVID-19 as the Alberta government has torn up a valid contract with physicians, refused binding arbitration (as the contract called for) and now put all radiologists in the province on notice that they will be fired in a year, and have to reapply for their jobs (likely giving services to the lowest bidder, which may well involve outsourcing our radiology services overseas).

(See discussion here: https://www.facebook.com/gregory.l.smith1/posts/10156680845195810)

There’s also problems with nursing and other allied health personnel that will probably ramp up soon too if government persists with their plans.

Anyway, all this is a Bad Idea, and its a Really Bad Idea while we’re trying to fight COVID-19.

I confess that I don’t have a lot of confidence in government listening to me –you wouldn’t make the kinds of moves they have if you bothered to listen to anyone before you did it, or if you didn’t have an agenda you weren’t willing to compromise on.

They’ve probably either heard it and ignored it, or heard it and believe people with my view are wrong. (After all, I may be a doctor but that doesn’t make me infallible, right? Don’t answer….)

I worry that either legal action or catastrophic consequences may be the only thing to make them backpedal.

But, one never knows. Light a candle rather than curse the darkness, right?

As I’ve said before, it may be that public health care in Alberta is unviable. If the government believes that, they should just say so, and let’s have an open conversation about what that means for patients and professionals, and how to do that going forward.