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Alberta doctors to vote on tentative agreement with the province

Manitoba is spending over $482,000 on respiratory training at the University of Manitoba in an effort to 'strengthen the health care system,". Universal Images Group

Alberta doctors and the provincial government have reached a tentative agreement, according to the president of the Alberta Medical Association, potentially ending the two-year saga of being without a deal.

“Alberta physicians will vote on a potential ratification package that has been negotiated between the Alberta Medical Association and the ministry of Alberta Health,” AMA president Dr. Vesta Michelle Warren wrote in a bulletin.

Doctors will be able to review the package and vote on it for two weeks starting Tuesday. They voted against a previous tentative deal earlier this year and have been without a deal with the province for more than two years when then-health minister Tyler Shandro nullified the agreement.

Read more: Alberta patients experience ‘very long’ wait times for care in emergency departments: AMA survey

Warren said the new deal includes improvements to doctor fees “that are in line with those achieved by other public sector groups in recent negotiations.”

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“We successfully negotiated programs and measures that improve the economic package, plus a financial reopener in year four,” the AMA president wrote.

“Equally important, this agreement restores fair and appropriate mechanisms to deal with physician compensation. We have not had this for the past two years.”

Warren also said the proposed deal re-established physicians as leaders in a “rapidly-changing health care system.”

In a joint statement released by the AMA, Warren and Health Minister Jason Copping said the doctors and the government are working together to address “serious challenges” facing the system.

“We share the same goals of stabilizing the health system including the physician practices that are part of infrastructure and targeting other areas of concern. We also want to address Albertans’ health care needs by appropriate processes to work together incorporating physician leadership in a rapidly changing health care system in which patients need the best collaboration we can deliver,” the joint statement read, noting details of the tentative agreement will not be made public at this time.

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Warren noted the AMA’s board of directors “strongly supported” the agreement.

She also said advocacy efforts around the “care deficit and issues facing physicians and the health care system” will continue.

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