Urgent care update expected soon

An update on the result of the town’s urgent care efforts is expected shortly, Dr. Brad Bahler told town councillors

An update on the result of the town’s urgent care efforts is expected shortly, Dr. Brad Bahler told town councillors and members of the gallery at Monday night’s regular council meeting.

Bahler said there has been no word from Alberta Health on the formal proposal for a Family Care Clinic (FCC) submitted by the town’s Urgent Care Committee in early November, and he said he wasn’t expecting to hear anything until the provincial budget is tabled.

But he hoped provincial Health Minister Stephen Mandel would follow up on his commitment to get back to the town within ten days of his visit to Sylvan Lake on Feb. 16.

“We’re in a bit of a tricky place right now; we’ve submitted our proposal, we have a commitment to hear back from the minister of health, but no commitment from anybody in terms of moving forward,” said Bahler.

Bahler noted community support for the town’s pursuit of improved health care access has been strong. More than $50,000 has been raised so far, and he’s encouraging further support.

“We continue to need the support of community and council to seek the avenue to solve this,” he said.

If Sylvan Lake doesn’t get an FCC — the town is currently among nine others earmarked as potential future FCC locations — other alternatives must be explored, he added.

“If it’s not an FCC, it needs to be something else,” he said. “We need to stay focused on this moving forward so it doesn’t get lost.”

Mayor Sean McIntyre thanked Bahler and the rest of the Urgent Care Committee for their tireless work in support of the cause. While the fate of their efforts still isn’t clear, McIntyre said he was grateful to see progress being made, with both Mandel and Premier Jim Prentice now well aware of the issue.

“This is a brighter light than we’ve seen in quite some time,” he said. “We’ve had plenty of progress at home, and now we’ve got attention from the province.”

Coun. Matt Prete said he’s also been encouraged by recent developments — the meeting with Mandel, in particular.

“I think that we’re on a good path, and if we keep doing what we’re doing, eventually we’ll get what we need,” he said.

Up-to-date information on the matter is available online at www.sylvanlake.ca/urgentcare.