Sylvan Lake tailors urgent-care plan to NDP

The government may have changed but the resolve in Sylvan Lake for an urgent care centre remains as strong as ever.

The government may have changed but the resolve in Sylvan Lake for an urgent care centre remains as strong as ever.

Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre, who sits on the committee that has been tirelessly working towards better health care for the area, said the mission remains the same.

“Our attitude on the committee is we will get urgent care because we won’t give up until it happens,” he said on Tuesday, a day after council was given an update on progress.

The NDP’s unexpected win means filling in a new minister and her staff on the efforts of the community — which has raised $100,000 towards the project — as well as tweaking the urgent care centre business plan.

“The plan we had developed referenced the family care clinic model, which was the former government’s version of urgent care,” he said. “The new government doesn’t use that terminology, that approach.

“So, we’ve got to now tailor the business plan to essentially suit what the new government is looking for.”

To that end, the committee is anxious to meet with Health Minister Sarah Hoffman to determine the best way to move forward. The minister’s staff have promised a face-to-face meeting next month.

McIntyre said community support remains strong. Local property developers are on board and have made room for a centre in their plans. Likewise, Central Alberta Medical Imaging Services, which is expanding to Sylvan Lake, has offered space for future urgent care needs.

“There’s plenty of people who are willing to help. What we’re looking for now is instruction from the health minister.”

Urgent Care Committee chairperson Susan Samson said they know that the government is facing a deficit and the financial landscape has changed.

“We’re quite conscious of that,” she said. “We’re going to offer (Hoffman) a solution to deliver advanced health care to the area that’s affordable and effective.”

“We’ve got the stats that show our after-hours on-call doctors save the local emergency room over 2,000 visits annually. That means those people are being treated here in their community for those non-life-threatening injuries.”

Putting an urgent-care centre in Sylvan Lake will offer a more efficient alternative to sending patients to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s already-overcrowded emergency room.

Sylvan Lake and area, which includes Bentley, Benalto, Eckville, five summer villages and parts of Lacombe and Red Deer Counties, is home to more than 22,000 people. They are looking for a seven-day-a-week facility able to handle non-life-threatening injuries and ailments with extended hours and lab, diagnostic imaging and observation beds.

Needs have also been identified for expanded mental health services, preventive medicine and programs focused on seniors.

Ahead of the meeting with the minister, a lunch-hour event will be held at Sylvan Lake’s Municipal Government Building on Dec. 1 in connection with Giving Tuesday to provide a public update on the project and demonstrate local support.