Premier Alison Redford and Alberta’s health minister met with physician organizations Friday to discuss doctor intimidation in the provincial health care system.

Critics say it was just an attempt to smooth relations before a provincial election.

The meeting, called by Health Minister Fred Horne, centred on a recent report from the Health Quality Council.


Health Minister Fred Horne said the meeting wasn't about politics. (CBC)

The report described a "culture of intimidation" in the health system and reported that some doctors felt afraid to speak up about problems.

Horne says the meeting with the Alberta Medical Association and the College of Physicians and Surgeons had nothing to do with an election, which many expect will be called Monday.

"This really isn't about the politics of the situation, it's about the reality of the situation," Horne said.

Liberal health critic David Swann, a doctor, called the meeting "electioneering."

"It's a desperate attempt before the election to make things go away ... to regain lost public confidence, lost professional confidence and a declining level of care in this province," he said.

Linda Slocombe, the president of the medical association, reiterated her position that a full inquiry is needed into the intimidation and muzzling of doctors.

"The gulf between front-line care for patients and the decision-making mechanisms of administration has grown so wide," she said in a previous interview. "We can only bridge it by clearing the air and getting to the root of the intimidation that has occurred."

The Health Quality Council recommended the province fix the problem without a formal inquiry. The government says an inquiry isn't necessary.

Redford didn't take questions from the media after the meeting.