Alberta Medical Association

Alberta Medical Association

November 30, 2007 13:00 ET

Alberta Medical Association: Full-Page Ads by Alberta Physicians Warn Bill 41 Threatens "Quality Care for Albertans"

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 30, 2007) - Alberta Medical Association: "Quality care for Albertans" is threatened if the Alberta Government goes ahead with proposed changes to the Health Professions Act in Bill 41, Alberta physicians warn in full-page ads to be published Saturday.

The threat comes from the loss of self-regulation for the medical profession, as well as the other health professions such as nursing and pharmacy, because Bill 41 would give the Minister of Health and Wellness authority over their regulatory colleges.

In the ad, Alberta physicians warn that, if Bill 41 becomes law, the Minister of Health and Wellness will have the power to:

- Reduce the standard of care by lowering the education/training qualifications needed to be a doctor in Alberta.

- Risk patient privacy with rules that could force a physician to release confidential information.

- Prohibit a physician from speaking out in the media about problems in the health care system by changing the bylaws and regulations of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA).

The advertisements in the Calgary Herald and the Edmonton Journal are part of the medical profession's intensive efforts to amend Section 135 in Bill 41, the Health Professions Statutes Amendment Act, 2007.

The ad is endorsed by six medical organizations: Alberta Medical Association (AMA), Canadian Medical Association, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, Professional Association of Residents of Alberta representing medical residents, University of Alberta Medical Students' Association and Calgary Medical Students' Association.

Both the AMA and the CPSA presented briefs to the Legislature's Standing Committee on Community Services, which reviewed Bill 41. And, the college's president and registrar, Dr. James E. Bell and Dr. Trevor Theman, appeared before the standing committee.

The AMA's 116-delegate Representative Forum in September unanimously approved a resolution expressing "strong opposition to the Bill 41 amendments that threaten self-regulation of the health professions, and calls on the Minister of Health and Wellness to discard the offensive amendments."

This issue is also on the national stage with the board of directors of the Canadian Medical Association expressing "its strong support for self-regulation of physicians and opposes any legislation that undermines this principle."

CPSA and AMA representatives have had a number of meetings with the Minister of Health and Wellness, and felt it was imperative to take the extra step of the advertisement.

"Although we appreciate that the minister has agreed to some of our recommendations, we will continue to fight against section 135 of the bill because of the risk to patient care. It's as simple as that," explained Dr. Trevor Theman, the registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.

"We've made extraordinary efforts to try and find common ground with the minister," said AMA President Dr. Darryl D. LaBuick, "and we appreciate the efforts that the minister has also made. Regrettably, so far we haven't been able to resolve the outstanding issues."

Bill 41 has received second reading and currently is in committee-of-the-whole. The fall sitting of the Alberta Legislature is scheduled to end next Thursday, December 6.

To view the ad, go to: http://www.albertadoctors.org/Advocacy/GovernmentAffairs

Contact Information

  • Alberta Medical Association
    Ronald A. Kustra
    Assistant Executive Director (Public Affairs)
    (780) 482-2626 or Cell: (780) 990-4271
    or
    Alberta Medical Association
    Shannon E. Rupnarain
    Director (Public Affairs)
    Cell: (780) 907-9003
    Website: www.albertadoctors.org
    or
    College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta
    Kelly Eby
    Manager, Communications
    (780) 969-4973 or Cell: (780) 690-4833