The future of enhanced health care in Sylvan Lake remains uncertain, but town officials and dedicated urgent care committee members are optimistic that good news is on the way.
Susan Samson, chair of the Community Advisory Committee, said a business plan was submitted to the province in early November after Sylvan Lake was identified by Alberta Health as one of nine communities eligible for a provincially funded Family Care Centre. Also at that time, $45 million to fund start-up costs and the first year of operation for the successful community candidates was set aside by Alberta Health.
In April of last year, Alberta Health approved the planning work and concept provided by the urgent care committee and asked for a full business plan.
“A project management/health care consultant was engaged in May to begin the extensive work on the required business plan. Over the summer, several meetings were held with community stake holders and health providers to complete a needs assessment or service gap analysis to determine the high priority health service needs in the overall area. The final meeting was a town hall meeting in September at the Sylvan Lake Community Centre,” notes an update on the Town of Sylvan Lake’s website.
The business plan included medical assistance for non-life threatening injuries, extended hours seven days a week, and access to necessary equipment, beds and medical professionals.
Despite the hours of preparation, including research and community input, the business plan hasn’t yet yielded a response from the government.
Samson said waiting is difficult.
“I’m uncertain to even guess what will happen. I am hoping by the end of January there will be some indication that it will go ahead.”
She said uncertain economic times are cause for concern.
“The landscape is ever changing.”
Samson noted Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre and council are 100 per cent behind the proposal.
“They are doing everything they can and promoting it at every opportunity.”
“There is no higher priority,” he said. “We are expecting to hear good news from the government. We know it’s on their radar.”
While there seems to be some confusion as to what an enhanced care facility would be called, both Samson and McIntyre agree the name is of little relevance.
“I don’t care what they call it,” said Samson.
“The name is not important,” agreed McIntyre.