Sylvan Lake-area residents finally get better access to higher level medical services

By Sarah Hoffman, MLA for Edmonton-Glenora and Minister of Health

Our government believes in a strong public health system where Albertans get the right care, in the right place, at the right time, for the right investment. In keeping with the province’s commitment to support and improve rural health care, I’m proud Sylvan Lake-area families, residents and visitors are finally getting better access to higher level medical services you’ve been requesting for years.

 Despite the drop in oil prices, our government has chosen to protect and strengthen patient care.

Patients will be provided treatment for non-life-threatening injuries up to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. This means, for cases like a broken bone or stitches, patients will be treated in Sylvan Lake, even if that incident happens in the evening or on a Saturday or Sunday.

For years, this community was promised better health services by the previous government and nothing was delivered. Your calls for improved access to medical care were left unanswered even when the economy was booming. Even now, some members of the opposition would cut health care to address economic challenges. Despite the drop in oil prices, our government has chosen to protect and strengthen patient care. We recognize the community’s need and are working with your community to meet your needs.

The new services will be provided at the Sylvan Lake Community Health Centre. Our government is investing just over $2 million for necessary renovations and start-up costs, including new treatment spaces, an expanded waiting area and a nurse call system. Supporting laboratory and diagnostic imaging services will also be available. The expanded services and hours will begin in 2018.

We believe in working with communities. This solution is the result of collaboration between the provincial government, Alberta Health Services, the Wolf Creek Primary Care Network and the Sylvan Lake joint task force-a group including representatives from the Urgent Care Committee, the Town of Sylvan Lake, local physicians and the David Thompson Health Advisory Council.

I commend the Urgent Care Committee, residents, business owners, donors and everyone who worked so hard to improve health care for Sylvan Lake and area patients, families and visitors. Our government is proud to partner with you and help turn your efforts into a reality.

First published in the Sylvan Lake News, Jan. 26, 2017.