NDP Finance Critic and Lethbridge-West MLA, Shannon Phillips, had a harsh message Tuesday afternoon for the newly appointed Health Minister Jason Copping. Phillips says the Alberta government isn’t doing enough to help out residents who have been experiencing a shortage of family physicians in the city. Phillips talked with two women who said they have lost their family doctors in Lethbridge. She outlined a four point, 30 day action plan for Minister Copping to try to recruit doctors to Lethbridge and southern Alberta.
The NDP says one third of Lethbridge residents do not have a family physician.
We reached out to Health Minister Jason Copping, and his office sent us a statement.
The Press Secretary for Copping, Steve Buick, outlined the following:
- Minister Copping is aware of the concerns about access to family doctors in Lethbridge and he’s committed to working with the community and local physicians to find solutions. Alberta Health is working with the Chinook Primary Care Network (PCN), doctors in Lethbridge, AHS South Zone, the City of Lethbridge, and the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce to support recruitment and retention of doctors in Lethbridge.
- We’re very pleased to hear that AHS has recently begun recruiting to four new positions for family physicians in Lethbridge. In addition, AHS is responsible for sponsoring assessments for physicians who are not currently eligible for full licensure, and they are currently offering to sponsor assessments for family practitioners who are willing to be based in Lethbridge.
- We’ve also given the PCN approval to recruit a new Nurse Practitioner, which we hope will complement the services of local family physicians and help improve access.