The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) announced the closure of emergency services at the Arcola Health Centre (AHC) in Arcola, SK, which came into effect on Thursday, May 14. The AHC has provided emergency services to the people of the area for decades.
The AHC was redefined as an Alternative Level Care facility under the Surge Plan set forth by the SHA in order to deal with the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic and as part of the state of emergency planning set forth by the Government of Saskatchewan.
When the reality of the pandemic came into fruition for the people of the province, a system was devised to help the province cope with the possible overwhelming of the health care system in the province that other countries were experiencing. To ensure that the spread of the virus could be contained, certain measures were put in place and at that time it was decided that the AHC would be used to look after non-COVID-19 patients. Also the SHA designated which hospitals would provide emergency services and which hospitals would take COVID-19 patients.
The closure has produced uncertainty to the people of the area and also to the health clinic in Arcola, which was set up in an effort to see that the AHC would stay viable for the citizens in the area it serves. With the redefining of the care service the AHC provides, it also means that the health care workers could be relocated to whichever location that is in need of the service or skills they can provide.
The Moose Mountain Health Care Corporation (MMHCC) was set up by the towns of Arcola, Lampman, Stoughton and the municipalities of Browning, Tecumseh, Brock, Moose Mountain, and Moose Creek to ensure that the AHC had the necessary number of doctors to maintain its status as a viable health care centre for this area. The MMHCC doctors share their services with the AHC.
The AHC always sees a rise in the number of emergencies at this time of year due to the close proximity to the vacation destinations of Moose Mountain Provincial Park and White Bear Resort.
Sheila Sim, Secretary Treasurer of the MMHCC, put it like this, “The lakes bring a lot of traffic to the facility. This is the worst time of the year for this to be happening.”
This will also affect the ambulance service to the communities in the region that it services. Each trip made will most likely be of a longer distance and with all likelihood affect the availability of ambulance service.
This plan has an effect on all the health care centres on how they will be able to provide healthcare, Redvers and Kipling are now designated as COVID-19 facilities and will be open to provide emergency services. Weyburn and Estevan will also provide emergency services.
Everyone needs to be aware of these changes and know which facility you need to go to for the care you are in need of and it would be very wise to go to the SHA website “now” to have a clear understanding of available services and make a plan “now” so that you have a well thought out itinerary in case of an emergency.