May 18th, 2024

MLA presses minister on lack of walk-in clinic services

By Lethbridge Herald on December 9, 2021.

Herald photo by Al Beeber Lethbridge West MLA Shannon Phillips speaks to reporters Wednesday about the Lethbridge doctor shortage with Brandin Sant, who has been using an app to see doctors since a spinal injury in July.

Al Beeber – Lethbridge Herald

MLA Shannon Phillips says she is pressing Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping for a short-term plan to fix the absence of a walk-in clinic here in Lethbridge.

“One of the things I talked to the Minister of Health about in question period and then afterwards was we need an immediate short-term plan to fix this business of not having a walk-in clinic,” she said, adding an app is not a way “that any physician can diagnose appropriately a back injury. We all know that; that’s obvious to all of us,” she said.

Branden Sant, a hairstylist, said with no local doctor he has to rely on video healthcare visits and with every visit he gets a different physician and has to retell his story.

He said the ER was overwhelmed with patients when he had to visit after he fell and fractured a vertebrae on July 10. He said he got no relief for pain until he picked up his own prescription from a drug store.

“I don’t really think it was an intentional oversight, just from everyone being overworked,” he said.

Sant said he was told with rest he should be able to return to work in two weeks but he has been off now for 141 days instead.

“There’s no substitute for seeing a doctor in person, especially one whose familiar with your situation because on the app, you get whoever’s available, Sant said.

“The only option I have to see a real doctor in real life is to go to ER.” The last time he went the lineup was out the door which is not an option for Sant, who said he can’t stand for long periods of time.

“The financial burden on top of my physical health has really deteriorated my mental health and I’m at a total loss of how I’m supposed to move on with my life with no healthcare resources available to me,” Sant added.

Phillips indicated she was largely rebuffed by the health minister when she raised the issue of walk-in clinics.

“That walk-in piece is the most critical urgent care way to address the healthcare crisis right now. The minister said ‘thank you very much for the input. He said that in his answers in Question Period but we haven’t seen them do anything on this and I think that right now what we need to see is that plan between now and literally the end of 2021, I’m talking about within the next three weeks, I want to see that plan for walk-in capacity because we cannot have this. There are people going into the ER for reasons that are not necessarily reflective with an actual emergency care situation or not getting the care they need,” said Phillips.

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Southern Albertan

An RN colleague of mine went south to work in North Carolina at the time of the exodus of Alberta front line health care professionals due to the Klein era drastic health care cuts. She got a job at a very busy Emergency department there. Their fast track area of their department dealt with gunshot wounds, anaphylactic shock (particularly from snake bites down there), cardiac conditions that went straight up to the cardiac cath lab, etc…..But they also had a slower ‘track’ for non-urgents such as sore throats, etc. This could be a suggestion for here, but, it is still of concern as to how much the Kenney UCP is ‘orchestrating’ the gradual demise of our system here using it slide in American-style health care.


The system is broken. The government controls everything. Salaries, income, delivery and location. Throwing money at it for 50 years and it is a mess. The irony is that S.A. Talks about a system in North Carolina that we should try here and then vilifies American style healthcare. Looks like it works.

Southern Albertan

Not necessarily. There is still, the issue of the dilemma of paying for medication, or, groceries. Their fast-track and slow-track is not a perfect solution.