Edmonton ER Doctor Open Letter

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Edmonton ER Doctor Open Letter

Warren Thirsk started this petition, and it now has 6,719 signatures

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As the Alberta election looms, Emergency physicians in... Edmonton and the surrounding areas are adding our voices to the Emergency physicians in Calgary, Lethbridge and Red Deer. We see first-hand the major resource gap in healthcare affecting our patients daily.

As front-line physicians, we are witnesses to the gaps in our healthcare system crisis and see it reflected in the faces and experiences of our patients. We strive, as individual physicians, to provide the highest quality care for any and all patients presenting to our ED. Each and every day, despite political promises and rhetoric, this system has held our patient’s hostage for lack of needed resources.

Our voices are silenced by patient confidentiality and threats of personal or professional retribution, while we share the pain and suffering of our patients and their loved ones waiting in our departments. Without breaking confidentiality and despite these threats, we now break our silence and share with Albertans a picture of the state of healthcare in Alberta.

It is said that time is money and vice versa. For the past 20 years, government cut the money supporting the healthcare system and replaced it with the currency of time. This means all Albertans and Canadians across the country are expected to wait for all healthcare resources. This lack of resources is reflected across the entire system:

  • Need an ambulance --- wait (and try not to die)
  • Need an ED bed --- wait in the waiting room
  • Need a hospital bed --- wait in the ED
  • Need a primary care physician --- wait with 600,000 other Albertans
  • Need a joint replacement --- put your name on the list and wait
  • Need a long-term care bed --- put your loved one’s name on the list and wait
  • Need Homecare --- put your name on the list and wait
  • Need a bed cleaned --- wait for housekeeping
  • Need a specialist in major city --- join the list and wait
  • Need a specialist in rural Alberta --- join the list, wait and then once an appointment is booked, add in your hours of driving to and from the big city
  • Need an operating room --- wait for the surgeon to put your name on the list, go home or sit in the emergency department and wait
  • Healthcare worker needing a holiday --- wait since we are short and your holiday is cancelled
  • Nurse or allied health staff needing to go home at the end of the day --- wait to see who is forced into mandatory overtime today
  • Need to express your frustration with healthcare delays --- why are you waiting?

Behind each wait time number or statistic is a single patient and their family whose suffering we stand witness to each day. Patients deserve better as do all Albertans since none of us are immune to health problems or pain.

Behind each short-staffed health care worker, we witness your burnout as you strive to cover the gaps in the system for our patients. The people who look after other people deserve better. Albertans deserve better.

So, what next?

We encourage all Albertans, healthcare workers, patients and their families, who are suffering or witnessed patient suffering due to these horrific healthcare gaps to sign this open letter below and add your voice to ours asking for change. Healthcare is a resource and not a political football. Let’s close the gaps by recognizing your healthcare system requires long term planning, funding and stability, not political rhetoric every four years while covering 20+ years of behind-the-scenes cuts.


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