Physicians needed, says Falher town council

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Falher town council continues to be discouraged about periodic times when a physician is not available in the emergency department at the local hospital in nearby McLennan.
At its regular meeting Jan. 12, council passed a motion to send a letter to Health Minister Jason Copping to oppose the lack of a physician in the emergency department.
Council is concerned a physician has not been available in the emergency department in Sacred Heart Community Health Centre several times in the past few months.
Most recently, Alberta Health Services announced Jan. 11 that a physician would not be available in emergency for a 24-hour period from Jan. 12 at 7 a.m. to Jan. 13 at 7 a.m.
AHS sends frequent notices of “interruptions” to the emergency department at the hospital, town CAO James Bell says.
“These ‘interruptions’ happen province-wide and are happening more frequently in our region,” Bell says.
Mayor Donna Buchinski will write a letter to Copping and send copies to Premier Jason Kenney, Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver, Central Peace – Notley MLA Todd Loewen, Cindy Harmata, AHS senior operating officer for Areas 5-8, and Sacred Heart site manager Barbara Mader.
Locally, the Falher letter will also be sent to Town of McLennan Mayor Jason Doris, M.D. of Smoky River Reeve Robert Brochu, Village of Donnelly Mayor Myrna Lanctot and Village of Girouxville Mayor Alain Dion.
AHS is working to ensure residents continue to have access to the care they need, the AHS states in a public service announcement Jan. 11.
During times without a physician, AHS provides information.
Nursing staff will remain on site to provide care for inpatients with one local physician in the community, AHS states.
Patients are requested to call 911 in they have a medical emergency.
EMS calls are rerouted to the High Prairie Health Complex.
Depending on their needs, patients seeking care in the emergency department in McLennan may also be aware of services available through local pharmacies.
Residents are reminded to call Health Link at 811, which is available seven days a week 24 hours a day for non-emergency health- related questions.

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