County wants more physicians – period

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County wants to encourage more physicians to serve the High Prairie region, male and female.

At its regular meeting Aug. 11, council turned down a request from the Town of High Prairie for a letter of support to ask Alberta Health Services to ensure a female physician for High Prairie.

“I still think we need to get the best most component physicians,” Reeve Ken Matthews says.

“AHS would use it as an excuse not to bring in another doctor unless it was a female.

“Our letter should say we want a full complement of physicians, not just that we want a female doctor.”

Council passed a motion by South Sunset House – Gilwood Councillor Ann Stewart to write a letter to AHS for more physicians.

“Mainly I want to have a competent fully trained doctor,” Stewart says.

“I would like to see a lady doctor.

“But I don’t want specifically to ask for a female doctor.”

Council will also send letters to Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Premier Jason Kenney and Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn.

Big Lakes CAO Jordan Panasiuk presented a recommendation to send letters to AHS president Dr. Verna Yiu, Shandro, Kenney and Rehn to encourage having a female physician in High Prairie.

At the regular meeting of High Prairie council on July 13, Councillor Brian Gilroy proposed a motion to write a letter to AHS to ensure a female physician for High Prairie.

However, the motion was defeated in a tie vote.

He says female patients, especially those sexually abused, prefer to be examined by a female doctor.

Mayor Brian Panasiuk agreed that female patients would likely want to see female doctors, but added that they are rare and that AHS is always looking to hire them.

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