Seniors plan to hold feet to the fire

By Geoff Lee

June 22, 2018 1:45 PM

Graham Brown, president of the Lloydminster Concerned Citizens Seniors Care Society, identified new and outstanding seniors health care issues members will advocate for while addressing the groups’ AGM at the Legacy Centre on June 13. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Seniors Care Society is not ready to rest on its laurels.
The seniors’ advocacy group identified some new and outstanding health care issues to resolve this year during their annual general meeting at the Legacy Centre on June 13.
The newest issue on the seniors’ radar is a growing concern over reports doctors are leaving the area.
“That’s an issue that we’re probably going to have to pick up in the fall and do some more lobbying on,” said Graham Brown, president of the Seniors Care Society.
“But we’re hearing that from more and more people all the time that there’s becoming a shortage of doctors in our community.”
In his annual report, Brown said during past year, Lloyd seniors have focused on two main issues—improving ambulance service in Lloyd and replacing the south and central wings of the Dr. Cooke Extended Care Centre with unfinished work to complete on both files.
The Seniors Care Society was successful in a bringing an advanced care paramedic onboard with WPD Ambulance servicing the Border City, but seniors want at least one more full time paramedic.
“We should have at least two paramedics, but the doctors in emergency are telling us the biggest need is more and more paramedics to be able to do transfers,” said Brown.
“The problem is being able to transfer patients to Edmonton and Saskatoon and we need a number of paramedics on staff to be able to do that and we are short.”
Brown sees progress being made to resolve the shortage following the reorganization of health services in Saskatchewan to a single health authority.
Rod MacKenzie, executive director of provincial EMS services with the Saskatchewan Health Authority had scheduled a meeting in Lloydminster this week with private parties.
“Hopefully, we can start moving forward on that,” said Brown.
Brown told the AGM seniors plan to forge ahead to plan a replacement building and services for the south and central wings of the Dr Cooke facility that are slated for demolition.
He said seniors first met with Alberta Health Services last fall to discuss the matters with a new meeting set for Sept.18 with officials from AHS and the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
“We will be getting together with them to set up a committee to plan what would be the replacement building and what services would be in it,” said Brown.
He said the main thing to identify now is the services that the community needs to have in there.
Brown said for certain there will be long-term care beds, but how many is open to question.
He added there is an identified need for mental health beds in the community in addition to a transition unit.
“So those are three things that have been identified already and then we need to have a look at what other things would work there,” said Brown.
The south and central wings will be demolished as soon as the ongoing construction of a palliative care unit in the middle area of the Dr. Cooke facility is complete.
Brown said it’s important to have a plan for the replacement of the two wings in place before the Alberta government announces they have construction funding available.
“The same thing happened with Pioneer House; they had their plans together; when the government called for proposals; they had their proposal ready,” he said.
“We need to get our proposal ready so that we will be there when they call for proposals.”
In other AGM news, Brown paid tribute to Roy Clark, a long serving secretary of the Seniors Care Society who died this past December.
“We all miss Roy and we appreciate and thank Roy for his contributions and our thoughts are prayers are with his family,” said Brown.
Brown along with seniors John Erkelens and Bill Till were acclaimed to three year terms on the board of the directors to join current two year and one year members.
Brown will also throw his hat into the ring for re-election as president.

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