Alberta doctors appear to be leaving for jobs in B.C, Ontario

Alberta physicians are packing up and leaving for the greener pastures of other provinces. As Tara Overholt reports, that green doesn’t mean money.

CALGARY (CityNews) – Doctors across Alberta are lighting up social media with resignation letters, saying they’re heading for greener pastures, but green doesn’t necessarily mean money.

“I suspect I will make less in B.C., I don’t know for sure since I haven’t worked there. We are really looking for a better relationship and stability,” one doctor told CityNews.

Alberta born doctor Alanna Bowie joined the Moose and Squirrel clinic in Sundre this past year thinking she would be there for the rest of her career.

Last month, however, she was one of five doctors working out of the clinic to resign, saying it’s because of the UCP government.

“When they (UCP) tore up our contract earlier this year, we are now working as contractors without a contract. That obviously creates some instability within our workforce. I really don’t like where the government is going in terms of de-emphasizing primary care and then denouncing care for more marginalized populations.”

On Twitter, several Alberta doctors have been vocal about leaving.

One likened Alberta healthcare to a dumpster fire, saying she’s voting with her boots.

Another, Dr. Don Wilson said it’s about standing up for rural health care.

This year the UCP government announced changes to funding which aimed to help rural doctors financially, however, Wilson said the changes made will hurt rural residents.

RELATED: Doctors group warns of fewer services in rural communities

“The denial of access to healthcare to rural Alberta that will result in harm, that is the real reason I’m leaving in protest over those decisions because rural people are going to pay some really serious prices with either worse health outcomes or even deaths.”

In July, results from a survey by the Alberta Medical Association showed that 87 per cent of physicians were making changes to their practices due to the funding framework put in place by the Health Minister.

Roughly 42 per cent of Alberta doctors were considering looking for work in another province.

WATCH: Mass Exodus of doctors possible: AMA survey

In July, Premier Jason Kenney responded to the idea of the doctors leaving.

“According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, there is no evidence of an increase in the number of physicians leaving service here in Alberta and I really have to ask, why would a physician choose to leave Alberta, to go to a province where they would be paid substantially less.”

However, Doctors like Wilson say they have their reasons for going and having already found some work in B.C. has noticed a drastic change.

“When I went there and worked for June, July and a good chunk of August, it just felt like a thousand pounds had been lifted off my shoulders knowing that I was not dealing with that toxicity from the government towards our profession.”

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