On April 24, the Alberta government announced steps to protect access to rural health care.
Part of this is paying the tuition of 20 rural Albertan medical students, who return to work in rural Alberta after medical school. These fund will be dispersed over the next three years.
Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health, says, “discussions with rural caucus and rural physicians have made it clear that there are unique challenges to recruiting and retaining physicians in communities outside of Alberta’s major cities. These changes recognize that difference and will significantly improve access to health care for patients in rural communities.”
Other steps have to do with physician payment. This includes removing the cap on Rural and Remote North Program (RRNP). Rural physicians will be exempt from the changes announced earlier in the year. The other changes are on hold pending consultation with urban physicians.
Alberta has around 1,000 rural physicians. There are eight doctors at the Slave Lake Family Care Clinic. To the west, there are two doctors at Swan River Health Care Clinic.