June 22nd, 2024

Recruiting new physicians a priority in Alberta

By Letter to the Editor on June 23, 2021.

Recently, media reports have covered staffing challenges in Fairview, Boyle, St. Paul, Elk Point, Rocky Mountain House, and Westlock.
Staffing challenges are not new to rural Albertans, who are familiar with the longstanding challenge of recruiting doctors to their communities.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has hit us hard. Doctors are not immune to the virus and have become sick themselves or have had to quarantine with loved ones.
This has reduced the number of doctors who travel to fill shifts that would otherwise go unfilled.
Thankfully, vaccine supply has increased and the virus is receding along with the threat it poses to front line medical staff. This will lead to a more stable healthcare workforce in rural Alberta in the coming weeks.
But that doesn’t mean that we can rest easy. Recruiting new physicians is a major priority for our government and we are working hard to do just that.
Last year, funding for rural doctors was increased by $90 million.
AHS has been directed to increase the hiring of Canadian and foreign trained doctors.
And $6 million in funding has been earmarked to help pay for medical school if students agree to complete their training in a rural community.
We are starting to see the benefits of this investment.
Over the last year, doctors have been recruited to Barrhead, Cold Lake, Whitecourt, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, St. Paul, Valleyview, McLennan and Falher.
More work is underway and more announcements of successful recruitments will be made over the coming months – and the work will not end there – Alberta’s government is working with rural MLAs and AHS to further increase efforts to increase and improve access to healthcare services in rural Alberta.
Tyler Shandro
Minister of Alberta Health

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Southern Albertan

The ‘net’ loss of doctors in Alberta though, has been stated as 30….maybe more by now. They are leaving because of the fights that the Kenney UCP have picked with doctors and the negative atmosphere created by this bumbling government. Alberta’s loss has been mostly, B.C.’s and Ontario’s gain.
As always now, many of us do not trust a thing this Kenney UCP, et al, government says about anything, including this.


Yeh right. There were plenty booking 7-800k a year right here in Lethbridge they were so special. Time to clean that up.

Fedup Conservative

The UCP must be proud of you. It doesn’t matter how badly they screw up they have you to make up some stupid comments to try to defend them. Apparently you don’t care that Kenney is a well known liberal, turned reformer , just like Klein was, has never been a true conservative and you haven’t noticed that he has been deliberately trying to destroy everything our conservative hero Peter Lougheed created for us. Why aren’t you smart enough to see it?

Les Elford

Mr. Shandro;
Respectfully Sir; You are absolutely right; Recruiting new physicians is and should be an absolute priority in Alberta. I hope you are able to see the hypocrisy in the issue and the statement. In particular since you sir, and the UCP party politics appear to have been a major driving force for the lack of sufficient doctors and other medical professionals throughout the province. Now you are going to try to portray yourself as the hero by trying to recruit doctors back.
I truly wish you all the best of luck with that. Heaven knows we desperately need doctors and other medical professionals. They are true hero’s and deserve to be identified and respected as that, due to their ongoing relentless, fearless service during the pandemic.
Yet the ruling political party, (you and your pals) ran and hid “because of safety” during parts of it. I would be embarrassed and ashamed. Obviously you are not. The people of Alberta are not easily fooled, and have long memories, sir. Words are easy (as you know, after all you are a politician). It is actions which really count. Trust is really really hard to earn, once it has been lost.

Fedup Conservative

Great comments Les you certainly have it right. My family doctor wanted to retire in 2008. He was the same age as me at that time 65. Instead of abandoning his patients he told us the he wouldn’t leave until his clinic was able to find a replace for him. They found a young doctor from Winnipeg to take his place, but after spending three months with him to learn the ropes and seeing how doctors were being treated by the Klein government he announced that he was going back to Winnipeg where doctors were treated with respect. It took two more years for him to find someone to replace him.


must be an election coming up and you are somehow wanting us to believe that we need medical professionals,after you tore up their contract with you and drove them away.

Fedup Conservative

This is the same clown who told us it would be easy to replace them. When Klein did it the doctors told me that if Ed Stelmach hadn’t spent millions of dollars buying up foreign doctors and nurses we would have been forced to close down the health care system down and I certainly believe them.

Over a three year period I had eight trips to hospitals , four different ones in Edmonton, and the vast majority of nurses and doctors were foreign, included one incredible nurse from North Korea. A friend just had surgery in the same hospital and had her for a nurse also. We both thought she was great and glad to be out of North Korea, can you blame her.