In Lethbridge, there is a continuing issue with doctor shortages. There is only one clinic in Lethbridge where doctors are accepting new patients, which is the Prairie Treatment Opioid Dependency Clinic. Patients are now going to the emergency department in our city seeking a doctor. Recently, three doctors have signed letters of recruitment and seven are pending in our city as sponsored doctors that should be starting sometime in the fall. Dr. Paul Parks, an emergency physician with the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital, presented at SACPA on Thursday and said this is also an issue where he practices and the government needs to be held accountable.
“It baffles my mind that the government and the Minister of Health and the Premier aren’t held to come down to Lethbridge and come see what it actually looks like when there are no family doctors. We will be the first to say we can’t do primary care and preventative care in the emergency departments. We desperately need that component and we need Albertans to fight for it. We need the communities to engage and advocate for it because that’s ultimately what the government’s job is.”
In Lethbridge, approximately 40,000 people are without a family doctor.