Town of Sylvan Lake has answered Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer’s call for allies in the push for more hospital services.
Sylvan Lake’s council voted to send Red Deer a letter of support. The town also intends to make it clear to the province in a separate letter how important the regional hospital is to surrounding communities and it is not just a Red Deer issue.
“It’s in our best interests to have the infrastructure and services required to sustain the entire Central Alberta region,” said Sylvan Lake communications officer Joanne Gaudet.
Sylvan Lake councillors have plenty of experience in health-care lobbying. Town politicians, members of the public and representatives from the medical community campaigned for years for an Urgent Care Centre in Sylvan Lake.
Earlier this year, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman announced that just over $2 million in funding to expand services at the Community Health Centre to provide additional medical care to include treatment for injuries such as stitches and basic fractures up to 16 hours a day, seven days a week.
Gaudet said the town’s health-care services and the regional hospital work together.
“However, none of that really works if one piece of the puzzle is missing and certainly the regional hospital is a big one,” said Gaudet. “Without proper infrastructure and services there, it directly affects all of us who count on it.”
In a letter to Sylvan Lake and other Central Alberta mayors, Red Deer’s mayor points out the regional hospital is Alberta’s fourth busiest and sees more than 350,000 Central Alberta patients yearly.
“We know that with the population growth of our region, hospital services need to expand in order to serve the health-care needs of our citizens well,” says Veer in her letter.
Last month, Red Deer city council unanimously passed a motion in favour of advocating for more beds and services at the hospital.
The motion brought forward by Coun. Ken Johnston recommended that the province be urged to consider reinstating the hospital to its capital priorities list as identified in the 2015 Capital Submission to ensure timely and accessible health services to Central Alberta.
Local doctors intend to keep the issue on the front burner with a public rally next month.
The rally is being held Sunday, Sept. 10, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. in the Memorial Centre parking lot, with speeches at 4 p.m.