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Health professionals provide information on family medicine challenges in Lethbridge

​Members of the Cultural and Social Standing Policy Committee (SPC) were provided information and engaged in a discussion with Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the Chinook Primary Care Network (CPCN) regarding the challenges within family medicine in Lethbridge.

Dr. Michael Auld, Associate Zone Medical Director at Chinook Regional Hospital, as well as five other health care representatives, presented at the SPC meeting Wednesday outlining the causes, workforce data and possible solutions to the current crisis.

"We know the doctor shortage is a top concern with our residents – it's something we heard a lot during the election," says Councillor Mark Campbell, who was elected Chair of the Cultural and Social SPC. "While the role of health care is within the provincial government's jurisdiction, we recognize how vital it is to the wellbeing of our city. Because of that, City Council wants to be a strong partner with the Provincial Government and Alberta Health Services in helping to find solutions for our community."

The current family medicine situation in Lethbridge has left many in the city without a doctor. There are also ongoing challenges in sustainability for family medicine clinics – causing additional strain on emergency services.

AHS and the CPCN have already commenced efforts towards new recruitments, with several physicians in the process of re-locating to Lethbridge. With more recruitment efforts required, this is one area the presenters expressed could be aided by City Council's support moving forward.

Members of the Cultural and Social SPC told the presenters they would relay the presentation to their Council colleagues, as well as continue discussion and pledging to work together in helping find possible solutions.

A resolution was passed to refer this item to the City Manager to continue developing an action plan to be brought back to City Council at a future meeting.

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