SLAACS offers diagnosis and treatment of urgent but non-life-threatening conditions such as sudden illness or injury that could be cared for in a doctor’s office but require immediate attention. Examples include minor cuts or burns, muscle and joint strains, bone fractures, and fever in young children.
Opening in 2018, the SLAACS has had repeated disruptions in service dating back to 2021.
READ: Mayor: Repeated closures of Sylvan Lake health facility “unacceptable”
“It’s a huge concern,” said Sylvan Lake Mayor Megan Hansen. “It’s been far more frequent than what’s acceptable in terms of how often we’ve had closures. At periods of time, it’s been weekly, if not more than that.”
The mayor says a committee has been formed, devoted to retention and recruitment of healthcare professionals in the town. She says the community interest has been so profound that they were overprescribed with volunteers, requiring the committee to change their terms of reference so they could include more members.
She says while the committee was formed a few months ago, they held their first meeting this month and will meet once a month going forward to draw attention to the issue.
Hansen says the town’s healthcare system saw more stress when a large clinic in town, Horizon Family Medicine, consolidated with their clinic in Red Deer. While patients in Sylvan Lake kept their family doctors, they would now have to travel farther away for care, which can be difficult for residents who may not have easy access to transportation.
“We know that that means more people depend on that advanced ambulatory care facility when they need that quick touch base with a doctor for something that just can’t wait until they get into Red Deer or elsewhere. It’s really important we have those hours as they should be,” she said.
AHS states patients arriving at the Sylvan Lake Community Health Centre to receive care at the SLAACS during the temporary closure will be redirected to other available care options as appropriate to their needs. The options include returning when the service resumes, booking an appointment with a family doctor, or calling Health Link at 811 for medical information and advice.
They add patients can also access medical care for urgent health concerns from facilities in nearby communities, including Innisfail, Rocky Mountain House and Red Deer.
SLAACS is not for life-threatening emergencies such as heart attack, signs/symptoms of stroke, head trauma, seizures etc. Patients requiring emergency medical care should call 911.
Booked appointments with other services at the Sylvan Lake Community Health Centre are not impacted by the temporary closure of SLAACS.