Less than a month before it opens for patients, Alberta’s health minister was given a tour of the renovated community health centre in Sylvan Lake.
When it does open on June 4, the facility will be able to treat non-emergency patients, preventing them from having to access emergency rooms at hospitals nearby.
“We know how busy Sylvan Lake is and they made a very clear case to me,” said Sarah Hoffman, Alberta health minister and deputy premier. “Rather than sending people on the highway or calling for an ambulance, being able to treat people closer to where they are and closer to home is a big improvement.
“We also think it’s to take some of the pressure off of the Red Deer hospital as well. It’s not going to a quick fix for Red Deer, we have other work to do there as well, but this is a step in the right direction.”
The facility will be open seven days a week, for 16 hours a day. It cost about $2 million and includes laboratory and diagnostic imaging services and X-ray facilities.
Susan Samson started the committee that helped get the new services to Sylvan Lake in 2011. But she said at the time she was told no by the provincial government.
“We worked with the previous government and we could get no traction on the need for additional medical services in this community and area,” said Samson. “It’s the right service in the right place at the right time. We couldn’t have done it without the support of the government or the committee.”
The committee fundraised $300,000, which will help buy medical equipment. Samson said the committee will continue to work after the facility takes patients to help buy equipment or whatever it may need.
Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre said before this opens, the option residents and visitors had for medical treatment was to go to Red Deer.
“We’re really happy to have a facility here that is properly equipped, properly staffed by medical professions and can help us deal with broken bones, stitches, dehydration and other non-life threatening health issues,” said McIntyre. “We’re really grateful for the support from the provincial government, Alberta Health Services and from hundreds of local volunteers who have been advocating for this since we started this journey in 2011.”