Re: editorial, health cuts going too far?

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Editor, The Bulletin;
I couldn’t agree more with The Bulletin–we need to get health care spending under control while protecting front-line care to patients. We’re honouring our commitment to Albertans to protect health care funding and strengthen the system, while we get our spending in line with the other provinces. This applies to the whole system, including management in Alberta Health Services, as The Bulletin suggested.
That’s a focus of the AHS review currently underway. But it must also include our spending on physicians. We spend 24% more per person on physician services than BC, Ontario, and Quebec. In more concrete terms: a doctor in Alberta earns roughly $100,000 more every year than a doctor in BC, with little improvement in patient outcomes.
Let’s be clear, dire warnings about impacts on the health system must be taken with a grain of salt. Even with the reforms we’re proposing, Alberta’s doctors will still be the best paid in Canada. In fact, our reforms focus largely on areas where we’re farthest out of line with other provinces, like the extra amounts we pay for longer visits that other provinces don’t, and which have been severely over-used.
We’ll keep working with communities like Brooks to attract and keep doctors, and we’ll keep succeeding, because Alberta is a great place for doctors to work.

Tyler Shandro,
Minister of Health
Government of Alberta