NDP and UCP outline ways to combat doctor shortage

NDP Lethbridge-West candidate Shannon Phillips outlined her party’s goals for attracting and retaining family doctors on Thursday morning. It’s estimated that around 40,000 residents in our region are without a family physician.

“First, the family health care- family health team concept for a new clinic here in Lethbridge. And we’ve already committed that at least one new clinic will open here in Lethbridge. That is a different way of approaching remuneration for physicians. And we know that it will go some of the way to ensuring that we have new physicians practicing family medicine here in Lethbridge. They are placed inside a team of other health professionals, whether it’s nurse practitioners, social workers, pharmacists, physiotherapists, you name it, to ensure that people’s health needs are met in a much more holistic way.”

Phillips also mentioned a training component in which the NDP promises funding for the University of Calgary Medical School to work with The University of Lethbridge and AHS South Zone to ensure there are more residents training in Lethbridge and making sure they stay and practice in our city.

UCP Lethbridge-West candidate Cheryl Seaborn, who is also a registered nurse, recently highlighted her party’s plan to address the shortage of family physicians. The UCP announced that 17 new doctors were hired as of last year to help take on the large number of patients in Lethbridge.

“The United Conservative government has put forward great effort in getting more doctors into Lethbridge. I think there are 700 doctors that they’ve been able to bring forward into the province, and we’re going to see some of those coming down to the south here. Overall, I think there’s 2600 healthcare professionals, physicians included in that group, along with nurses and other allied health that we are recruiting and are coming to the province. So that is a really significant thing. And access to physicians in Lethbridge specifically has been a long standing problem. Before the United Conservative government took office, we already had a shortage of physicians in the Lethbridge area.”

The UCP recently made the announcement in the 2023 budget that an additional $1 billion will be added to Alberta’s public health care system. The party also included the Public Health Guarantee and the $24 billion, 10-year health care funding agreement with the federal government.

The provincial election will take place on May 29th.

Micah Quinn

After graduating from Mount Royal University in Calgary with a Broadcasting Diploma, Micah made the trek down to Lethbridge to work for Bridge City News. He has previously worked at City TV Calgary on the Breakfast Television morning show. He looks forward to connecting with this community, and reaching a new audience. Micah has a passion for interviewing and finding out why people think the way they do. You’ll often find him pursuing local feature stories and hard news.

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