This week, we saw some small but angry protests outside a handful of our healthcare facilities.
I am proud to live in a country that supports the right to peaceful protest, and I also support the right for people to voice their opinions. However, I was very frustrated that some of those protests turned into personal attacks on our physicians and staff.
I am aware of instances where AHS employees were yelled at, and subjected to harassment. Some did not feel safe walking to and from their workplace. We are also aware of some patients and families who were obstructed as they entered facilities to receive care. That is uncalled for and extremely unsettling.
Our healthcare workers are doing all they can to care for Albertans, and they deserve the utmost respect and support. If you oppose masking, vaccinations, or any other measures taken to prevent COVID-19 transmission, that is your right. But to target healthcare workers with anger and vitriol is not acceptable, particularly now.
It has been a long pandemic, our physicians and staff are under a lot of stress, and their work is exhausting. Many are feeling burned out and impacts are immeasurable. They are stepping up once again, as we face a fourth wave exacerbated by the highly transmissible and virulent Delta variant.
Now more than ever, our physicians and frontline teams need your support.
We have certainly heard from many, many Albertans who have reached out to thank healthcare workers, and we are always grateful for that. Our physicians and staff – and our hospitals and healthcare facilities – are very busy and the pressure is enormous. We should be there for them, just as they are there for us.
Please do your part to help. Get immunized as quickly as you can, consider wearing a mask in public, indoor settings where physical distancing is not possible, and please, stay home when sick.
Thank you. Stay well and stay safe.
Dr. Verna Yiu, AHS president and CEO.