No urgent care centre for Sylvan Lake

The Central Zone of Alberta Health Services is ignoring pleas for an urgent care centre in Sylvan Lake, says the town’s mayor.

The Central Zone of Alberta Health Services is ignoring pleas for an urgent care centre in Sylvan Lake, says the town’s mayor.

Recently Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care Committee was advised its request didn’t make it into the AHS Central Alberta Zone Integration Plan for the next five years, or in the long-term.

Sylvan Lake Mayor Susan Samson said AHS Central Zone has completely discounted the needs of the 18,000 people who live in Sylvan Lake, Bentley, Eckville, five summer villages, Red Deer and Lacombe counties, and the one million visitors to Sylvan Lake each year.

She said seven urgent care models operate in Alberta.

“They are a proven model that works, that are sustainable and financially responsible and yet Alberta Health Services Central Zone has just shut us out,” said Samson on Tuesday, who is also the urgent care committee chair.

Sylvan Lake and area has been fighting for a facility that’s open seven days a week with extended hours, laboratory and x-ray services, and non-life-threatening medical care.

In January, about 500 people rallied in support of the care centre. A letter campaign commenced and there have been several meetings with government and health services officials.

Samson said the project seemed achievable until this “11th hour oh by the way we’re not going to be doing anything for you.’”

The committee proposed low-cost solutions, including putting day beds in the current David Thompson Community Health Unit, where lab and x-ray technology is already located, to run a temporary urgent care centre. Sylvan Lake doctors were committed to running the centre.

Samson said the committee executive is now focusing on meeting with Health Minister Fred Horne who has recognized the health concerns in Sylvan Lake.

Sylvan Lake resident Annie Boychuk, whose husband collapsed in August in the town and later died from a heart attack, said Alberta Health Services’ decision is completely unacceptable.

She wants emergency care available in Sylvan Lake, not just urgent care.

“We need this. We needed this years ago so I don’t know what Alberta Health Services is thinking, maybe for a couple more deaths to happen?” Boychuk said.

“It’s neglect. We will fight for emergency care here in Sylvan Lake for residents and surrounding residents and the visitors.”Boychuk intends to be at the opening session of the Alberta legislature in October with supporters, petitions and letters.

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Kerry Towle said Alberta Health Services is failing to recognize the needs of all Albertans.

“Our ambulance situation, like many communities, is in a state of constant stress. We don’t really have adequate coverage. Then to top it off, we don’t have any facility to deal with an emergency,” said the Wildrose MLA.

She said the health minister and Alberta Health Services have the power to override the decision of AHS Central Zone.

Towle said Sylvan Lake and area have put together a fiscally responsible plan. Meanwhile AHS refuses to do a full audit of its health officials expense reports as promised, opting only to examine reports of former CFO Allaudin Merali.

“Last week (AHS) put a call out to departments to find 1.8 per cent of the budget, which is right around $186 million, and that money is going to be used specifically to further the health care quality council review and family care clinics.”

“The problem isn’t that there’s not enough money. The problem is priorities and where the money is spent.”

AHS Central Zone was contacted by the Red Deer Advocate but were unable to respond on Tuesday.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

Chopped Canada-winning chef Pete Sok is trying to focus on the future as he reopens Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge in the Holiday Inn on Gasoline Alley during the pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer’s celebrity chef looks past the pandemic with new restaurant opportunity

Pete Sok is reopening Boulevard Restaurant — and betting on the future

The Red Deer Rebels hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first game of the shortened 2020-21 season on Friday. The two teams faced off again in Medicine Hat Saturday (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels fall to Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday

Tigers 7 Rebels 2 The Red Deer Rebels have lost two straight… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Pablo Rodriguez rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Gummed-up bills in House of Commons: harbinger of a federal election?

OTTAWA — All federal party leaders maintain they don’t want an election… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Sean Hoskin stands on a neighbourhood street in Halifax on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Hoskin was diagnosed with COVID-19 almost a year ago with symptoms that still persist. Some provinces have established programs to deal with long-term sufferers but Atlantic Canada, with relatively low numbers of patients, has yet to provide a resource to assist them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On East Coast, exhausted COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ hope specialized clinics will emerge

HALIFAX — On evenings when Sean Hoskin collapses into bed, heart pounding… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

Most Read