Doctor to open practice in Smoky River

Dr. Lynn Hanekom with husband Roberto Mathys on the grounds of Sacred Heart Community Health Centre during their site tour of the Smoky River region on March 5.

Tom Henihan
South Peace News

A prospective doctor to the Smoky River area, Dr. Lynn Hanekom and her husband Roberto Mathys, who are from Cape Town, South Africa, came to the Smoky River region for a site tour March 5.

The purpose of the site tour, is for the doctor to visit potential regions where she could open her medical practice, and for her and her husband to choose the place they believe would best suit their needs.

During their recent trip to the province, Dr. Hanekom and her husband visited two other communities in Alberta and subsequently decided to live in the Smoky River area and for Dr. Hanekom to practice medicine here.

Dr. Hanekom’s site tour of Smoky River included a visit to Sacred Heart Community Health Centre in McLennan, a trip to all five municipalities in the area, a helicopter sightseeing trip and dinner at Sam’s Restaurant in Girouxville. Among those who attended the Girouxville supper, were Sacred Heart Community Health Centre staff and members of the Smoky River Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee.

Having made the decision to practice medicine in Smoky River, there are still a few formalities to address before Dr. Hanekom will take up residence in the area. Those formalities include waiting for paper work to go through from Service Canada and a three-month assessment in another Alberta community, before coming to the Smoky River area.

Bringing a new physician to a rural region in the northern Alberta like Smoky River, is a lengthy and complex process with numerous people involved from the beginning of that process up to Dr. Hanekom and Roberto’s site tour when local organizations such as the physician retention committee and individuals successfully represented the region during her visit.

“They have chosen the Smoky River area as their future home, thanks to everyone’s part in making this tour a success,” says physician retention committee coordinator, Myrna Lanctot.

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