Edmonton

Alta. Liberals set up hotline for doctor complaints

The Alberta Liberal Party has set up a toll-free line for doctors and nurses who believe they've faced intimidation and censorship by the government for speaking out about health care.
Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann wants doctors and nurses to contact his party's toll-free line with any stories of intimidation they may have. (CBC)

The Alberta Liberal Party has set up a toll-free phone line for doctors and nurses who believe they've faced intimidation and censorship by the government for speaking out about health care.

Party leader David Swann, who is a medical doctor, wants to use the stories as evidence to push the Alberta government to hold an independent public inquiry.

"The government's not doing its job, so we're going to do it for the government," Swann said.

Over the past two weeks, the province's Progressive Conservative government has faced a growing number of stories from physicians who say they were intimidated.

On Friday, Calgary psychiatrist Dr. Lloyd Maybaum became the latest physician to step forward.

Maybaum said that in 2008 he was upset that plans for a psychiatric wing at a new south Calgary hospital were in jeopardy. One of the emails Maybaum wrote to colleagues about the situation was leaked to the media.

Maybaum said he received the letter from the health executive afterwards accusing him of making inflammatory and inaccurate statements.

The allegations like these have prompted opposition parties to continue pressuring the government to hold a public inquiry.

Instead, the government has asked the Health Quality Council of Alberta to investigate cancer surgery wait lists and allegations of compromised patient care in the province's ERs, a probe which will now include a look at the issue of physician advocacy.

The review will take place behind closed doors although the government says the report will be made public.