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Monday, 12 November, 2007

Alberta law threatening doctors' self-regulation draws nearer

Alberta's Bill 41, the controversial proposed amendment to legislation governing the province's health professions, in nearly its original form.

Physicians are almost uniformly opposed to Bill 41 because of its Section 135, which would give the Minister of Health and Wellness the power to change the bylaws, standards of practice and codes of ethics of professional regulatory bodies, like the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.

The Standing Committee on Community Services (PDF) last Tuesday, November 6. The report suggests one minor change to Section 135: "The Committee recommends that the Minister consider imposing limits on the term of office for any person appointed as administrator." That single change is unlikely to appease critics of the legislation.

The bill is sure to encounter resistance in the Legislative Assembly upon second reading on Wednesday, November 14; the NDP and Liberals have both expressed opposition to elements of the proposed law. Minister of Health Dave Hancock (pictured above left) sounded alternately standoffish and conciliatory when he and I spoke a few weeks ago, first calling physicians' concerns "irrational" but later explaining that he would consider some of the College's proposed changes to Section 135.

You can read on the National Review of Medicine website.

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