Hospital situation concerns McLennan council

NDP Health Critic Shepherd invited to future meeting to address issues

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

The recent temporary closure of the emergency department at the Sacred Heart Health Complex at McLennan March 15 has drawn the attention of town council.

“We want answers,” demanded Councillor Sue Delaurier at council’s meeting April 12.

“This hospital is in our town,” she added. “We have the most to lose if this hospital closes.”

“There are no plans to reduce healthcare service in McLennan,” said Deb Guerette, director of Clinical Operations for AHS North Zone Area 6, when contacted after the meeting.

Debate over the hospital and what course of action to take began with Councillor Eckhard Christen.

“Definitely, a letter from us,” he suggested.

Councillor Terry Calliou suggested contacting NDP Health Critic Dave Shepherd.

“Why invite a non-government member?” asked Councillor Dwayne Stout.

“They’ll be looking for votes and they’ll make noise,” replied Calliou.

Delaurier and Councillor Marie-Anne Jones wanted to take another course of action but Calliou persisted.

“It puts these guys [government and AHS] on the hot seat,” he said.

Stout wanted to meet with Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Central Peace – Notley MLA Todd Loewen, but wondered how council would get them both in the same room the same day.

“Our hospital leaves a lot to be desired,” said Christen, sharing a recent personal experience where his wife waited six hours for treatment.

“I think we have a site problem at our hospital,” said Delaurier.

“Who changes the healthcare system during a pandemic,” she added, referring to a new computer system being implemented.

“I don’t know the answer but we have to start somewhere,” she concluded.

Calliou again argued to include the NDP.

“Hit them where it hurts them, then maybe they’ll. . .”

“I think it warrants a special meeting to get to the bottom of this,” suggested Delaurier.

Christen referred to the lack of doctors locally, saying there used to be five doctors at the hospital compared to only two now.

“I like Terry’s idea, bringing the health critic in.”

Council agreed to invite Shepherd to a meeting and will prepare concerns.

Council also agreed to write a letter to Alberta Health Services adminis- tration, Shandro, and local Smoky River municipalities.

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