Bi-provincial health committee trudges on

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June 18, 2015 8:15 AM

Progress seems to be going ahead slowly but surely with Lloydminster’s Bi-provincial Health Services Committee (BPHSC). The group was created by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was signed in 2014 and seeks to ensure that the health service needs specific to the city are adequately addressed.

Mayor Rob Saunders, who works with the committee, says there has been investment in home care to keep people in their homes longer, which in turn creates more space in the city’s various care centres. He also outlined some progress in the MOU’s three main areas of focus, which are acute care, primary care and continuing care.

Acute care involves the changes, upgrades and the eventual redevelopment of the Lloydminster hospital, primary care saw some increase in available doctors for the region and continuing care focuses on long-term and health care.

“In primary care, we see the new Primary Health Care Centre open in Co-op Plaza, which accommodates people for general daily services to see a doctor. There shouldn’t be anybody in this service region without a doctor now,” said Saunders.

“(Another) aspect is continuing care, which encompasses long-term care and home care and supportive living in all aspects of transitioning and day services. There are certain areas that will be staged out over the next one to 15 years.”

Some of the future progress he mentioned was talk of redevelopment for the Pioneer Lodge. This would see 44 new beds for supportive living Level 3 care, which is an improved level than what is currently offered. According to albertahealthservices.ca, this level provides a 24-hour health-care aide for personal care and support as well as continued professional care through your local home care program.

There is also the new Dr. Cooke site which is opening this month and Saunders noted that with the five beds at that site, added to the proposed 44 for the Pioneer Lodge, Lloydminster will see upwards of 49 new beds. He conceded that the city will still be short but, “at least we’re making progress and those are the positive things.”

The fact that Alberta is under new government could also be seen as something that might cause a setback while the NDP gets all of their ducks in a row, though Saunders ensures that the MOU was made to accommodate any acting provincial government.

“Hopefully (we) won’t have to start from scratch,” he said. “Even though we have a new government we still have a bi-provincial agreement that’s in place.”

Saunders says the committee hopes that by fall it will have a better idea of all of the services that need work and what type of work needs to be done so they can release a report to the public.

“I think that would be the best time to have a full comprehensive report on the services end of things. The services are so highly important, to get those things worked through and do it right the first time because what follows is the financing to support those.”

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