Province expected to respond to Sylvan Lake urgent care plan by year end

Urgent care plan is in the hands of Health Minister.

A provincial response to a local plan to provide urgent, after-hours health care in Sylvan Lake is expected by the end of the year, according to Alberta Health Services.

The plan was submitted to Health Minister Sarah Hoffman on Sept. 30 from a joint task force that included local physicians, members of Sylvan Lake and area’s Urgent Care Committee, representatives from the Town of Sylvan Lake, a member of the David Thompson Health Advisory Council and Alberta Health Services (AHS) staff.

Sylvan Lake and area have pursued an urgent-care centre since 2011 and established an Urgent Care Committee to push for a facility that would run seven days a week, with access to a lab and X-ray.

The town and area has a population of more than 22,000 and includes Sylvan Lake, Eckville, Bentley, Benalto, Lacombe County, Red Deer County and summer villages Birchcliff, Half Moon Bay, Jarvis Bay, Norglenwold, and Sunbreaker Cove.

As many as 750,000 people also visit the area annually.

Doctors with the Wolf Creek Primary Care Network have provided after-hours care on an as-needed basis from their offices, but this practice became unsustainable. Anyone needing urgent after-hours care has to travel to nearby emergency departments if they can’t be seen locally.

AHS said it remained committed to working with the community to implement a health care solution that works for Sylvan Lake and will continue to keep the community updated.