09/22/2014 01:55 EDT | Updated 11/22/2014 05:59 EST

Former Alberta Medical Association president notes year of political turmoil

EDMONTON - The former president of the Alberta Medical Association says "turmoil" in the provincial government over the past year made it hard to get things done.

In a letter to physicians, Dr. Allan Garbutt says only a few of the desired changes to the health system were accomplished.

He says physicians worked hard but could not get commitments from the provincial government.

Garbutt says he hopes Premier Jim Prentice and newly-appointed Health Minister Stephen Mandel will bring more stability to the health system.

He says more changes are needed to primary care to better serve Alberta's aging population and to deal with chronic diseases using a team-based system.

Garbutt has been succeeded by Dr. Richard Johnston, an intensive care physician in Edmonton and a University of Alberta clinical professor.

"Turmoil at the top resulted in paralysis in the ranks," Garbutt wrote in his letter to AMA members.

"Few of our desired changes came to pass as fully as we had hoped, not because we didn't try, but because we could not get commitments from our partners in government."