Doctors' dispute with Alberta government at stalemate

Alberta Medical Association president Dr. Michael Giuffre

Credits: Ian Kucerak/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency


CALGARY -- There's little reason for optimism there'll be a cure any time soon to the contract dispute between the province and its physicians, the Alberta Health Service's chairman said Tuesday.

And Stephen Lockwood said failure to solve it could hurt the medical system and its patients.

"There doesn't seem to be a bright light at the end of the tunnel between the province and doctors," Lockwood told QMI Agency.

"If something happens with family doctors, I think emergencies are going to be impacted. Maybe they're not as happy at work -- physicians are leaders."

Alberta Medical Association President Michael Giuffre has said if doctors don't get a fair deal from the province, it's possible some could close up their offices due to their high overhead.

While the AHS negotiates contracts with its nurses and other staff, physicians bargain with the province.

Giuffre has accused Premier Alison Redford of scapegoating physicians in her bid to cut budget costs.

While Lockwood emphasizes the separation between the government and AHS, he refused to criticize how either side is dealing with the impasse.

In an escalating war of words, Giuffre has argued a 1% salary hike for doctors would cost $30 million, while a return of health care premiums would bring in $1 billion.

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