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President’s Message: February 2022

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Over the last year, you have heard me speak to the collaborative nature of the ACFP and our continued efforts working alongside family physician leaders and community practitioners at consultation tables and working groups. We continue to bring your voice and values to each arena; making sure our suggestions and contributions are patient-centred and are well-rooted in evidence.

Despite our active involvement, we are often unaware if our recommendations or concerns are considered until a decision is announced. For instance, we were not consulted with prior to the recent decision to rapidly lift the public health orders and programs to limit transmission of the Sars -CoV-2 virus in community. The removal of the restriction exemption program and masking in schools, amid high hospitalizations and high positivity rates are concerning.

We have, and continue to, strongly advocate for the well-being of all our patients and the effect COVID-19 has on the most vulnerable populations; children under five who have not had the opportunity to be vaccinated, the unvaccinated, the elderly, and the immunocompromised who are at risk of serious illness.

No matter what the situation, the ACFP will remain collaborative, especially in the development of an overarching, long-term plan for managing the pandemic. We know that as testing and outpatient treatments are transferred to the community, family physicians will need increased supports. The outpatient management of acute COVID-19, the treatment of long covid, and dealing with the ever-expanding care deficit, will need to be supported by an integrated, evidence-based plan with all partners in the system.

We are all tired of the pandemic, but please know that the ACFP will not tire of advocating for transparent plans and decision making. We support you, your practices, and the communities in which you live and work.

Sincerely,

Sudha Koppula BSc, MD, MClSc, CCFP, FCFP
President
Alberta College of Family Physicians

3 Responses to “President’s Message: February 2022”

  1. I hope that your leadership will take a close look at the ever sprouting virtual care groups providing so called “ medical care” with physicians sitting on the other side of the country while we don’t have enough manpower and finances to bring physicians in areas such as Lethbridge.
    These physicians bill AH for services that do not have a medical home attached to it. I think it should be mandatory for physicians providing virtual care have connections to a physical medical home where patients can be seen for follow up rather then sending these patients to ER, increasing our costs AND not meeting the care gap that is seriously needed.

  2. Hi Sudha!
    Congratulations on your presidency! I somehow missed when it started. So pleased to see you here and thank you for all your work. I hope life is generally going well for you.

    Thanks for mentioning the risk for those of us who are immunocompromised – I was diagnosed with a significant IgG deficiency in 2005. I am very angry with Kenney lifting the restrictions prematurely.

    I continually think of all the frontline health givers sacrificing and suffering and am full of gratitude to them.

    Best, best wishes,
    Anna Taube

  3. I am concerned with your support of the controversial position of masking in schools. The science around masking is far from settled and there are certainly harms associated with masking children in school. This is why many European countries did not advocate masking in schools (my understanding is that the UK never masked children in school under the age of 12).

    To date the largest masking trial that was done during COVID was adults in Bagledesh. This very good study only showed a marginal benefit in preventing COVID transmission and only with surgical and NOT cloth masks. Whether this study would translate to children is debatable.

    As family physicians we should be advocating for policies that improve the physical and mental health of children (and policies that are evidence based). Vaccines are a good example of something we can fully get behind.

    However policies that close schools and advocate for masking of children have marginal benefit in preventing COVID and likely have considerable harm to the social and mental development of children that we are just starting to understand.

    Thanks for all you do!!

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