Alberta Health Services in Slave Lake has put together a three page document to inform residents on the state of healthcare in Slave Lake.
Why is there less access to “walk-in” appointments at the FCC right now?
We understand community frustration related to the “walk-in” service at the FCC, and we acknowledge that the situation over the holidays was less than ideal. The holiday period, from late December through early January, is particularly challenging when it comes to ensuring we have enough staff at the FCC.This is not unique to Slave Lake, but a challenge we face across the province as we try to balance keeping as much service as possible open while giving our staff well deserved time off over the holidays. This can be compounded when we have staff vacancies or leaves for any reason.When the FCC is fully-staffed, there is more than adequate support for our residents in Slave Lake.While each of our physicians/nurse practitioners takes “fit ins” or “same day appointments” in additionto their booked appointments, and the Emergency Department is staffed 24/7 with an ED physician andnurses, we are currently managing with less than optimal FCC staffing numbers (maternity leaves,personal health issues, and a couple of vacancies that we are working hard to fill).It is important to point out that in most other Alberta communities, clinics (both private and public)were operating on reduced hours or even closed over this time. This was certainly the case with many physician offices.
Can I get healthcare in Slave Lake when I need it?
Yes. Our Emergency Department is open and staffed by an experienced team of physicians and nurses providing timely access to urgent & emergent healthcare issues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This did not change over the holidays. Our FCC is open and staffed by an experienced team of physicians and nurses providing timely access to primary care, public health, chronic disease management, addiction/mental health, social work, allied health, and many other health issues 7 days a week across extended hours (beyond a typical clinic’s hours of 9-5 weekdays). The “walk-in” service of the FCC returned to its normal hours on Saturday,January 7th.These extended hours of service were not available every day over the holidays, and some “walk-in”patients waited longer than usual, due to staffing shortages. Since then, wait-times have come down significantly at both the FCC and the Emergency Department.