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Richer pitches health gap meeting

By February 23, 2022No Comments
Paul Richer. File Photo

 

Paul Richer, chair of the Lloydminster and District Health Advisory Council, is looking for feedback about holding a community meeting to identify health service needs.

“The purpose would be to bring the general public in this region to view what our advocacy group has been working on, our successes and where we still see gaps,” said Richer.

“And most importantly, to find out what we’ve been missing.”

The Advisory Council has identified 16 local healthcare priorities such as renal dialysis relocation and chemotherapy relocation out of the hospital, or at least upgrading that service.

“Other ones are senior care, hospice facilities, capital expenditures and expansion at the hospital, among many other things,” he added.

Richer generated support for a community meeting at the Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Seniors Care Society meeting at the Legacy Centre on Feb. 15.

“We are in big support of that initiative. That’s a great initiative to hear from the community what some of the things we might be missing are,” said Seniors Care Society president, Graham Brown.

“We always like to hear from (members of) the community.”

Richer says details such as the actual date, location and agenda for a community meeting have yet to be worked out.

“It’s just been thrown out right now as concepts to groups like this, and we’re hoping with the opening of less COVID restrictions, probably May or June,” he said.

“I’m hoping to set up a subcommittee to get more details in the near future.” 

Richer also sits on the Bi-Provincial Health Services Committee co-chaired by the deputy health ministers of Alberta and Saskatchewan and knows about some of the existing gaps.

“It’s clear we only have what I call two-and-a-half operating rooms at the hospital, versus North Battleford has four, and the doctors have been asking for more for a long time,” said Richer.

He says there are also gaps in services as far as pediatrics go in Lloydminster.

“We’ve had 100 plus babies (born) a year for 20 years and pediatrics doesn’t exist at the Lloydminster Hospital,” he said.

He says another thing that doesn’t exist for a city of our size is mental health stabilization beds, noting everyone else has one and there’s no place to put these people. 

“They either get incarcerated or sent away to North Battleford so they are well away from the community when somebody’s in a bad mental state—so maybe that’s a bad idea,” said Richer.

Brown says the need for additional long-term care spaces is the number-one healthcare gap the seniors’ group is advocating to be filled.

“There’s never enough and we need to keep working on that on a continual basis,” he said.

“The EMS (ambulance) service has kind of been re-organized in Lloydminster, so we want to make sure when we get the finished product, it is something that will fulfill our needs.”

Richer says there will probably be informational boards at the meeting about some of the things mentioned at the seniors’ meeting.

“There will be some method to capture information from people if they are experiencing issues,” he said. 

“Hopefully, we can catch them in writing rather than verbal testimonials, and I am sure we will try to attract some representatives from both Alberta and Saskatchewan health.”