GIVING TUESDAY - Mayor Sean McIntyre enjoys a hot bowl of chili during a luncheon held at the municipal building in support of the Urgent Care Committee. Jenna Swan/Sylvan Lake News

Urgent Care committee provides updates to community at luncheon

The Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care committee held a chili luncheon at the Municipal Government Building

The Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care committee held a chilli luncheon at the Municipal Government Building and several community members attended this free luncheon including Town of Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre and Town of Eckville Mayor Helen Posti.

The point of the luncheon was for the committee to report back to the community about what they have been doing and where they are currently at in their initiative.

The Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care committee members are working towards getting an enhanced medical care facility in the community.

This facility would not be another walk in clinic but would be open seven days a week for extended hours, would treat non-life threatening injuries and be staffed by doctors and nurses.

Plans are to equip this facility with a lab and X-ray machines.

The Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care committee chair Susan Samson said the most common question asked was ‘Where is the committee at now?’

“Everybody is very pleased on the fundraising work that we’ve done and we’re of course very grateful to our sponsors but ultimately the question is where are we in terms of getting this service,” Samson said.

Currently the committee is approaching the government to discuss a solution for enhanced medical care in the area, but said they haven’t been able to get an appointment at this time.

Now the committee is taking the steps to make an appointment with the deputy health minister to get their foot in the door that way.

“Until we get a meeting with Alberta Health and a commitment from them and working closely with Alberta Health Services central zone we’re really nowhere unfortunately,” Samson said.

Getting an appointment with the health minister or deputy health minister has been a stumbling block this past year, due to the ministers being extremely busy.

Not being able to make an appointment with government ministers makes everything harder for Samson as she said she needs to report back to the committee’s partners and the town’s residents on where they are at in terms of progress.

“We’re very active in fundraising but that’s not really the mandate of what we want to do,” Samson said. “We want to get a centre. How can we continue to raise funds when we have no movement on this initiative?”

Samson said she feels disappointed that they haven’t made any roads in the area as of right now.

She said she feels frustrated because of the lack of movement in any direction good or bad and said they are getting unrest from the residents, and they are concerned with doctors in the town being on call after hours.

“We have to have some movement in this area so we can plan accordingly,” Samson said.

But even in dealing with stumbling blocks, Samson said giving up is not an option.

She said the committee is going into their fifth year of this initiative and has very strong partners with neighbouring communities and have made commitments to the doctors working within the community.

“We have doctors, residents and partners,” Samson said. “We have too much on the line now to walk away.”

There is currently $100,000 sitting in the trust fund for the urgent care facility, money that will be spent on medical equipment when the town receives a facility.

The committee recently received a donation from Bukwildz worth $2,240, money that will be used to pay for communication and marketing materials.

“We don’t pay ourselves, we don’t pay for meetings, travel or anything like that,” Samson said. “This money will strictly be for communications and marketing.”

Samson said the community can help spread the word of what the Urgent Care Committee is doing and why their initiative is important.

The committee’s goals coming up for this year are to meet with the health minister or deputy health minister and get a position from the government on what they think of the committee’s plan.

“If we get a favourable response we will continue to fundraise and hopefully we will get some planning money to take us to the next detail level of what we need in the community and cost it out,” Samson said.

reporter@sylvanlakenews.com