At Tuesday evening’s St. Paul Council meeting one citizen spoke to Council regarding the local health care system and questioned what Council saw its role to be in local health care.During Paul Boisvert’s delegation to Council it was revealed by Mayor Glenn Andersen that there are physicians on their way to Bonnyville.
A discussion between Boisvert and Mayor Andersen was sparked, when Boisvert poised the question to Council, “what does Council perceive its role to be in Health Care in the community?”
The Mayor answered by stating the Town role in the health care is involved on multiple levels, through the Rural Physician Attraction Plan. Mayor Andersen, who took his post in 2007, says he’s met with four different Health Ministers during his time as Mayor and plans to meet current Health Minister, Sarah Hoffman. The Mayor explained to the room that the Town has a committee in place, “we are working with the Rural Physician Attraction Plan.”
Through this committee, and with the endorsement of private clinics in St. Paul, the Wellness Centre, hospital and the current doctors in town, the Town and Alberta Health Services (AHS) are actively working on bringing additional doctors to St. Paul. “All of the clinic endorse the fact that we all want to recruit doctors,” stated Mayor Andersen the committee recently met with AHS, “we lost one doctor, but AHS has said that they have one on the books to send to St. Paul. Since that meeting AHS has said there are two more doctors, so potentially three new doctors are coming to St. Paul.”
Part of a successful recruitment is attraction to the community, explains Mayor Andersen, “what we do as a Town and Council is given [the doctors] temporary residence when they come in for a short period of time. We also work with [the doctors] and give them tours of the community, when they come in, so they actually want to be here. We show them what we have to offer.” The Rural Physician Attraction Plan plays a big part in helping secure doctors to the town. The Mayor explained how the program has been successful in neighbouring communities; such as Bonnyville.
Mayor Andersen also noted that although the Town has not recruited a this doctor as a full-time resident, they have been successful in securing return visits to the community by a neurologist. The neurologist is known for his involvement in working with patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). St. Paul has a high number of patients with MS, and Mayor Anderson, along with Council, sees the value of being able to bring the doctor to the town, rather than have patient drive to Edmonton for appointments.
Mayor Andersen invited Mr. Boisvert to join him when he meets with Minister Hoffman on January 26th.
*correction- in an earlier version of this story it stated there was a neurosurgeon not neurologist that came from Edmonton to see MS patients. Please note it is in fact a neurologist. LCN apologizes for any confusion.