Lakeland Doctors Take Innovative Steps to Diversify Care

Lakeland area doctors are looking at coming together to work off each other’s strengths and specialties to give diverse health services to the region. As St. Paul’s Mayor Glenn Andersen explained to Council at Monday’s meeting, doctors from the Covenant Health and Alberta Health Services, in the Lakeland, are designing a plan to come together.

“It’s been initiated by the doctors, which is very good. The fact that the doctors are coming together for the Lakeland area and the fact that we can all work together.” Mayor Andersen explains he recently attended a Doctor Recruitment meeting where the idea to pool services was brought forward. “In St. Paul we have psychiatric ward, we have dialysis and in Bonnyville, they have gynecologist and in Cold Lake they have CT Scanning. So we’re trying to work together between Covenant Health and Alberta Health Services.”

We want it to be an asset to work within our region and work on each other’s strengths in the communities. – Glenn Andersen Mayor of St. Paul

Bonnyville doctor, Hendrik van der Watt, is taking lead on the project and calling on local politicians to help implement it. Bonnyville has had much success with their Doctor Recruitment Program and Dr. van der Watt hopes to use that knowledge and success to drive doctors to the entire region; St. Paul, Elk Point, Bonnyville, and Cold Lake. With the spirit of bettering the entire region, the goal would be use each communities specialisms to treat patients in a more local manner. Rather than travelling to Edmonton or beyond for special treatments recruit and/or utilize existing physicians with specializations to take on residency at one of the local hospitals.

“We always were trying to keep our people from travelling to the city, so this is a way we can work together,” Mayor Andersen says the program may even expand into a pilot program model that the Provincial Government may look at for other areas. “The doctors came to us, we think it’s a great idea, and we’re going to see if we can get Alberta’s Health Minister to buy into this model, because it is innovative.”

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