A committee set up to attract potential permanent doctors to the Town of Eckville is continuing to diligently seek out solutions on how to manage the day to day health of the Town’s residents.
According to Mayor Helen Posti, who sits on the committee, they have been faced with limited success.
“We did have two individual doctors come and have a look, but we have not heard back from them yet,” she said. “Each day brings another week and each week brings another month – it already has been a long time since we have had a resident doctor for the general public.”
She added that the Town remains fortunate that the residents of the manor continue to have doctor coverage.
However, a significant number of people face transportation and other varying issues that hinders their ability to seek out adequate care for day-to-day health issues – which is especially difficult considering the facilities the Town has to offer are modern and up-to-date. Mayor Posti is concerned that the lack of doctors in Eckville will lead to the Town losing this facility.
“We have a wonderful facility here which has the lab and x-ray, but if we don’t have a doctor here – how long will we have that?” she questioned.
Any doctor that were to come to the Town would have access to this equipment, as well as the space necessary to run a practise for the residents of Eckville. The Town has renewed the agreement for this facility for an additional three years.
Posti encourages residents of Eckville to use these facilities’ for their health concerns, as she does, in order to keep them operating in Town.
“Any tests that I need to have – I have them here because we certainly do not want to lose our facility,” she said.
The committee also faced the additional challenge of Alberta Health preferring that practices have multiple doctors working – meaning that the Town needs to entice coverage from more then just one doctor.
“The other thing we have heard is that a single doctor coming to Town is not what Alberta Health prefers – they would rather a group of doctors do so – that way there is backup coverage,” Posti said. “A local clinic would likely have regular day time hours; they would likely have some walk-ins but it would mostly be a book-in set-up.”
Posti wanted residents to know that this issue is unrelated to the Urgent Care Facility proposed in Sylvan Lake. A clinic being opened in Eckville would be for day-to-day health and not for urgent or emergency situations. If someone is facing a critical health situation they would still need to visit the nearest hospital in either Red Deer or Rocky Mountain House.
Posti stressed that potential Eckville doctors would only need to work here and not necessarily live in the Town.
She added, “Myself, Town CAO Jack Ramsden and the committee are very committed to finding a doctor as it’s critical for Eckville to have one.”