On the heels of recent temporary closures of emergency services at the Pincher Creek hospital, Alberta Health Services hosted an information session at the Community Hall on the evening of Aug. 15. The meeting was intended to update local residents on what is being done to improve the health-care situation and to give us the opportunity to voice our concerns and suggestions directly with AHS officials.
The hall was pretty much full, a clear indicator that there are many in the community who care and are concerned about the state of, and future of, health care in Pincher Creek.
One got a sense that the AHS officials and hospital administration leading the meeting have the same understanding of the issues as the audience and legitimately care about implementing solutions. They seem to be struggling for answers; their hands are somewhat tied by regulation and funding, but they care and are trying to improve things.
The meeting was attended by the MD reeve and at least one councillor. (I’m unsure of town council attendance as I don’t really know them.) It seems our local government cares.
Local doctors (even one on maternity leave) were in attendance. They care.
Many were there in EMS uniform. They care.
Many hospital staff and retirees were there. They care.
The Piikani care. An elder spoke eloquently about their issues and how much they value the Pincher Creek hospital and clinic.
However, a key person, someone who might be able to actually do something, was not in attendance. Not unlike what we had come to expect from her predecessor, our MLA was MIA when we needed her support. During the election campaign she missed a similar engagement because of more pressing matters. I wonder what kept her away this time. I wonder if she cares.
I personally don’t have any answers around improving the health-care system but can offer AHS one suggestion: choose your dates carefully. If you would have held the meeting on Saturday instead of Tuesday, there’s a good chance the MLA might have attended. It seems it takes the smell of pancakes or the noise of a parade to bring a Livingstone-Macleod MLA out of hiding.
Cornell Van Ryk
MD of Pincher Creek Resident