Your Board of Directors and staff have been communicating publicly the messages of value, trust, support, and respect of family physicians. We are actively participating in regular meetings with committees, working groups, and individually with leaders within the Alberta Government, Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Medical Association, and our MLAs. Like you, we want to see an open and transparent dialogue established with government and physicians through a renewed and collaboratively negotiated master agreement. We also want Albertans to understand that a strong primary health care is the heart of an efficient and effective overall health care system. We speak of the importance of continuity and the longitudinal relationship between patients, family physicians, and primary care teams in the context of a Patient’s Medical Home (PMH) .
In recent months, we have reached a threshold of time spent communicating and meeting with government. Because of this, the Alberta College of Family Physicians has had to register as a Lobbyist. As such, we have recently reported all of our activity since January 2020 with the public registry. Our report includes all of the ways in which we have been working to bring the voice of family physicians to elected leaders, bureaucrats, and the health authority in Alberta.
We know that with every new policy or piece of legislation that is put in place that affects family physicians without their input, there is a feeling of loss of value and trust within the system. This is not acceptable or sustainable. We are working hard to support renewed trust and collaboration through support for the work of the AMA as your representative body regarding compensation. As well, we are reaching out specifically with common messages and vision for well-resourced PMHs, a robust primary health care system that is integrated to a Patient’s Medical Neighbourhood , and a network of programs and services that equitably support the physical, mental, and social well-being of all Albertans no matter what community they live in.
Because of the excellent exposure of many active campaigns (both grassroots and provincial), there is wide support among Albertans and a growing awareness of the way that family physicians function within our health care system. Advocacy and understanding will continue to be key in the coming months to ensure that there is public pressure to restore and sustain family physicians as an integral part of their communities’ essential services. We are working on several fronts to build awareness, to establish open dialogue with decision makers and advisors within government, and we continue to stand firmly with the Alberta Medical Association for the need of a negotiated agreement.
We are not sitting idle; we are working hard to amplify your voice. Stay connected and stay safe.
On behalf of the ACFP Board and Staff,
Vishal Bhella MD, CCFP
Alberta College of Family Physicians