Pressure needed to bring doctors back to Cremona

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Urgent: citizens in Cremona and area need a doctor.

A doctor from the Carstairs Medical Clinic used to provide biweekly or once a month visits to Cremona with an irregular schedule, less than five hours per trip. At that time, even in these short visits, the doctor would see at least 25 patients each time. Every time during the doctor’s visit, there had been patients lined up waiting to get medical attention. There had never been a shortage of patients before the doctor’s visits became irregular. There is no public transportation available in the area.

The Carstairs clinic decided to stop the service after the clinic changed hands, even though there are more doctors working in the clinic than before. As a municipal councillor, I am very concerned when I heard from many local residents who have been cut off from a service that we desperately need. Many of them have been asking others to boycott the Carstairs clinic for their irresponsible decision. This is a lose-lose decision; the clinic lost customers, and the area lost a much- needed service.

I have talked to the medical authorities of the province, and also to Mountain View County. The province will provide a subsidy per patient, as long as the clinic can make $50,000 from the clinic in the Cremona area. The county has funding available for local medical service as well if we meet certain requirements.

When Cremona was within the David Thompson Health Region, the receptionist in the Cremona clinic was funded by the health region, not the Carstairs clinic.

Now that Cremona belongs to Alberta Health Services’ Calgary Zone, that funding had been stopped since early 2016. I assume this is one of the reasons the Carstairs clinic stopped the service.

Next time when I have the opportunity to meet provincial and health region officials, I will try my utmost to push for the restoration of the same funding.

At the same time, I hope the local residents can continuously write to the health region, provincial and county authorities to express your concerns and ask for the funding to be restored too.

Joseph Shi

Village of Cremona councillor

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