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Claresholm physician closing practice

Wednesday, 20 May 2020. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Dr. Roisin Dempsey of Claresholm Medical Centre gave notice on May 11 to patients that her practice will close in July.

"Dear Patient(s):

I am writing to inform you that I will be closing my practice as of July 24th, 2020. The recent government cuts have been very destabilizing to my rural family medicine practice. I also have greater family commitments now with my children, and I have not been able to strike a good balance between work and family life.

My plan is to step back from my clinical duties for the next few months, but I hope to return as a locum physician in time. As a locum physician I will not be in the position to provide the continuity of care that a regular family phsycian would provide as my time in the office will be reduced. Therefore, you may wish to seek a new family doctor to ensure that all your health requirements are met. Our practice agreement that was signed when you joined the practice will expire on July 24th, 2020.

I have been privileged to walk beside you through your life and health journeys for the past four years. I trust that I have been able to serve you well. Hopefully we will see each other in the future in my new locum capacity.

Yours sincerely;
Dr Roisin Dempsey"

Dr. Dempsey is the only female physician in Claresholm.

"I wish Dr. Dempsey an excellent few months as she takes some time to be with her family, and appreciate her willingness to remain as a locum physician in our area in the future," says Livingstone-Macleod MLA Roger Reid.

"We're sorry to lose any doctor but, the reality is several hundred physicians enter and leave practice in Alberta each year," he said in a written response to Shootin' the Breeze, noting that net overall, in the most-recent year to March 31, Alberta saw an increase of nearly three per cent with 293 new physicians. Almost half of those – 144 of 293 – were in the Calgary zone, which includes Claresholm.

"I look forward to working with her in the future to help find an acceptable funding arrangement that would protect rural healthcare while ensuring healthcare across Alberta can remain sustainable," Mr. Reid said.

"Alberta is the best place in Canada for physicians to work and we’re committed to keeping it that way, most recently by making our rural/remote/northern incentives the most generous in Canada," he added.

"The Rural/Remote/Northern Program pays a premium of 10 per cent on all fees billed by physicians in Claresholm. As a result, Alberta has seen the fastest growth in our physician workforce in Canada in recent years; we now have more physicians per capita than ever before, more than national average."

Alberta's NDP caucus released Dr. Roisin's letter Wednesday along with an announcement that Dr. Paras Satija plans to relocate his Ponoka practice to another province.

The NDP opposition continues to call for Premier Kenney to temporarily restore the previous contract with Alberta physicians, to enter arbitration to develop a new one, and to repeal the parts of Bill 21 that allow the government to rescind future contracts.

The master agreement between the Alberta Medical Association and the provincial government was terminated in February and some physicians say changes in the funding model implemented April 1 are making it financially unsustainable to keep their clinics running in the same capacity and to provide extended services.

Doctors of the Associate Clinic in Pincher Creek announced April 21 they will discontinue hospital-based services in July.

Patient care through the clinic will continue as usual, but Associate Clinic doctors will no longer work in the hospital when that time comes.

Councils of the Town and MD of Pincher Creek have written to provincial government officials in support of local physicians.

Related articles from Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass:

Associate Clinic update https://bit.ly/2ZszrtU

Associate Clinic doctors make tough call https://bit.ly/3f0suVY

Doctors warn of looming health crisis in Alberta https://bit.ly/2zne3vl

Pincher Creek physicians share concerns about budget changes https://bit.ly/3gdTGBe

Doctor voices concerns over changes that could drastically change local health care https://bit.ly/3e6JHvD

Crowsnest Pass doctor addresses proposed healthcare changes https://bit.ly/3e2eqtQ

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May 20 issue https://bit.ly/2ZnKqom

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