The election of a new provincial government may have left Sylvan Lake’s previously promised urgent care facility in limbo, but the pursuit isn’t over by any means.
Urgent Care Committee Chair Susan Samson assures that the work for the long-awaited project is already in place — the priority now lies in getting the new government to recognize the town’s need for such a facility.
“The key point is we’ve had four years at this,” she said. “We’ve done a needs assessment, a business plan and we have a really good understanding of how urgent care would be a good solution to extended wait times.
“We have to get back on the radar, but the work is done, and the work is good.”
Samson distributed a notice last week advising stakeholders that the PC government’s urgent care announcement in April was “tied to a pre-election budget that never received second reading.”
“Therefore, the promise and the funding is no longer there,” she wrote.
Further clarity on the matter will arrive once budget and health ministry details become available, said Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA-elect Don MacIntyre, who will be sworn in later this month.
In the meantime, he says he’s well aware of the need, and is already working toward a solution.
“One of the first meetings that I have booked already is a meeting with (Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre), and urgent care is top of the list on that agenda,” he said. “What I have asked of him and will be asking of the Urgent Care Committee is to let me know what they think our community needs for urgent care as opposed to what has been happening in the past, and that is the government telling us what we need for urgent care and then changing the rules every year.
“What I want to know is, from their perspective, what does Sylvan Lake need, and I’m going to run that as hard as I possibly can. That’s going to be my first order of business.”
Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre assured urgent care remains the “number-one priority” for the town, despite a change in circumstances surrounding the project.
“The good news is we’re in direct contact with our duly-elected MLA now, and the moment that the government is in session and the NDP government is sworn in, you can bet that they’ll be hearing from us on a regular basis there as well,” he said. “It is an ongoing effort, and we made a lot of headway with the last government, and we expect that the new government will consider our data, will consider that communities that are smaller than us have hospitals, and will understand that a growing population like that in the Sylvan Lake area needs proper health services.
“Any good government I think will recognize that need and take moves to address it.”