Calgary

Alberta's new PPE distribution plan unfair, doctors tell province

Some Alberta doctors say changes to the province's personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution process are risky and unfair.

Alberta Health jeopardizing safety of physicians, says family practitioner

The Alberta government says private organizations and community-based doctors will have to start acquiring PPE on their own. (Briar Stewart/CBC)

Some Alberta doctors say changes to the province's distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) are risky and unfair.

The government announced earlier this week that private organizations and community-based doctors will have to start acquiring the equipment on their own.

As of July 1, doctors in community practices will be cut off from a government-funded supply of PPE.

They'll have to find their own supplies and pay out of pocket.

Dr. Donald Wilson, a family physician in Edmonton, worries clinics will have trouble finding the supplies they need or may not be able to afford inflated prices.

"I think it's outrageous that Alberta Health tends to put the safety of not just physicians and their staff but support workers and patients at risk," he said.

Calgary and Area Medical Staff Society president Dr. Scott Beach also objects to the policy change.

"Physicians that are providing care in (Alberta Health Services) facilities are provided their PPEs at no cost," he said.

"We are a key element in the success in dealing with this pandemic, and with this disparity we are asked to carry this cost on already an unstable foundation of funding to our clinics and at great risk to our personal and our staff's health."

A government spokesperson says Alberta was unique in supplying independent physicians with PPE, and now that supplies are improving, the focus is on supplying those at highest risk — hospital workers, first responders, people working in seniors' care facilities and publicly funded homeless shelters.

With files from Jennifer Lee

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