The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) recognizes we’ve hit a critical point in the COVID-19 pandemic and is very concerned about how much longer Alberta’s healthcare professionals can continue to provide quality patient care without support from all Albertans. Many Albertans have already experienced limited access to important care, and we are seeing the highest numbers of patients admitted to Alberta hospitals than we have seen since the beginning of the pandemic. The pressure on our ICUs is critical and we simply can’t ignore that the vast majority of these patients are unvaccinated.
Physicians, nurses, healthcare teams and support staff are working incredibly hard to address the increased demands. These professionals, who have committed their lives to supporting patients, are burning out and personally suffering mentally, emotionally and physically as a result of the work they do and the current environment we’re in. We don’t have an endless supply of people to continue the battle against COVID-19, and the long-term repercussions on our healthcare system are equally serious.
We also recognize many Albertans are in the same boat – exhausted and frustrated from continuing to do their part in protecting themselves and others throughout the pandemic. To these people, CPSA’s Council and leadership team thank you immensely for your efforts. We recognize that not all those who are struggling with their decision to be vaccinated are “anti-vaxxers”. Our guidance to the profession has been to not pass judgement and help you better understand the safety and value of vaccines. We can’t however ignore the small number of Albertans who are aggressively spreading misinformation, looking for inappropriate exemptions and putting others at risk. The medical profession needs Albertans to get vaccinated. In order to get through this healthcare crisis, we strongly urge Albertans to abide by the following:
- Work with your healthcare provider to review up-to-date evidence and credible sources, such as Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services and Health Canada.
- Don’t expect a COVID-19 vaccine exemption. As we recently shared with the medical profession, there are almost no absolute medical restrictions to vaccinations. Therefore, there should be very few exemptions issued by physicians.
- Be respectful to your healthcare provider and their support staff. We encourage you to discuss your concerns with your physician, but there is no circumstance where abusive, threatening or harassing behaviour is acceptable. In fact, in a community practice, a physician has every right to immediately discharge a patient from their care if that patient or their family is making a healthcare professional, or any staff member, feel unsafe.
- If a physician feels you do not qualify for a vaccine or mask exemption for medical reasons, threatening to report them to CPSA is not appropriate. CPSA can and will dismiss such vexatious complaints.
This is a critical time in Alberta’s history and we all need to come together to support each other, our healthcare professionals and play a part in getting us through the pandemic.
Sincerely, CPSA Council:
Louis Hugo Francescutti, President
Scott McLeod, Registrar
Stacey Strilchuk, Vice President
John Bradley, Past President