We are now witnessing an unprecedented health care crisis in Alberta and Saskatchewan – and patients and health workers are experiencing unfathomable choices and consequences. Early relaxation of public health measures has left two crumbling health care systems in their wake and the dire realities are now in full view.
What is happening is as heartbreaking as it was preventable. We are now in a situation where it’s all hands-on deck to address the state of crisis. Because at the end of the day, it’s the people of Alberta and Saskatchewan – patients, families, communities and health workers – who are impacted by this. As Canadians, we have a duty and a commitment to come together, especially in tough times.
Now more than ever, we must rely on the hard lessons learned and have the political resolve to take the actions needed to restore the health care systems’ capacities and keep populations safe.
The Canadian Medical Association is urgently calling on the provincial and federal governments to work together to: increase vaccination rates through mandatory vaccination in health care settings; institute effective public health measures such as ‘firebreakers’ or ‘circuit breakers’ to aggressively control COVID-19 cases; increase the mobility of health workers between provinces and support the safe transportation of patients to other jurisdictions who have ICU capacity.
Any and all measures available must be applied to curb the rate of mortality, support workers, and start addressing the consequences of patients’ whose care is now on hold indefinitely. This is a time for courageous action, and for politics to step out of the way of needed collaboration.
This is a time for governments, businesses, and citizens to step up and do the right thing. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures – and that time is now.
Dr. Katharine Smart, CMA President
Image by Dr. Heather Patterson via Heather Patterson Photography.