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Saturday , 12 June 2021
Midtown Medical Centre in Vermilion.

Ultrasound clinic in Vermilion closes but hope remains for the service in the future

Heartland Ultrasound Inc recently closed at Midtown Medical Clinic in Vermilion. Mayfair Diagnostics out of Calgary (a company who had previously done a lot of their reporting) was looking at taking it over, but so far is unable due to lack of sonographers.

June Diament, one of the directors for Mayfair Diagnostics, said in the past not all ultrasounds had been done at the hospital, that a general practitioner had opened an ultrasound clinic but the doctor neared retirement and at the same time the lease was coming to an end.

“We felt it would be appropriate to take over the lease to keep offering the service and carry on employing local people,” said Diament.

“We were as close as being introduced to the landlord, but we were always going to be dependent on technicians, so we never did take over the lease.”

The previous clinic only had a part-time technologist, but Mayfair’s plan was to have it a full time facility, meaning they would have needed additional staff. They invested in advertising but she said they came up with nothing.

“Unfortunately if you don’t have the staff to manage, you can’t open the clinic. We would love to, but are unable until we can access the skilled resources we need,” said Diament.

Being from a small town herself, she appreciates being able to attract and keep those services. She said they will be keeping in touch with the community because they are very keen to keep the service local. “We operate in small town clinics and big cities – even sometimes in very remote locations like the Yukon, where we fly people up and back and it’s always a challenge to have a sufficient supply of general technicians or those with sub-specialties.”

She said they are qualified medical staff so it is commonplace for them to be in very high demand as soon as they graduate from places like NAIT or SAIT. For places that are very small towns, she said an added level of complication may include it being more challenging to attract someone with a very high skill set, such as sonography.

“We are still hopeful that sometime in the future we could open an ultrasound clinic in Vermilion,” said Diament.

“We would be looking to provide dedicated radiology services as soon as we can recruit appropriate qualified people who are interested in the job, but right now there is purely a shortage of qualified people within a reasonable geographic distance,” said Diament.

They would be looking at having two part-time positions or one full time position filled in order to begin a certain number of services, with potential for expansion.

No one from Heartland Ultrasound Inc was available for comment.

About Angela Mouly

Angela comes to Lakeland Connect after leaving traditional newspaper where she spent the past four years reporting on community events. Her repertoire includes writing about history, politics, agriculture, sports, entertainment and art. She was the third place recipient of an AWNA General Excellence Award for “Best Front Page” during their 2016 Better Newspaper Competition. Angela has lived in rural Alberta all her life and in Vermilion for the past 15 years. She looks forward to continuing to serve and inform the Lakeland community by joining in people's many adventures and sharing their stories.