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Rural physician shortage impacting Border City

Another issue on the 15-point priority list put forward by the Lloydminster & District Health Advisory Council is the recruitment and retention of staff.

Dr Raffath Sayeed has been a family practitioner in the Border City for about 45 years. He welcomed the comments shared by officials from Alberta and Saskatchewan at the health matters forum hosted at the Legacy Centre. He notes the concerns arising from insufficient medical staff.

“There is a shortage of family doctors in Lloydminster. I would say there are at least 6 (short), which is why there are such long wait times in the emergency room. If there were enough family doctors in the community, people would not be going to emergency to look after their needs. An emergency would be by and large a true emergency.”

He defines a true emergency as people who have urgent needs requiring urgent care will go to the ER.

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He also noted the lack of an ICU, especially as Lloydminster is distant from Edmonton and Saskatoon. He says there are many high-risk surgeries performed at the local hospital but many others have to be referred elsewhere due to the lack of the intensive care facility.

Sayeed points to mental health where he says the waitlist is long for a patient to get help from counsellors and with COVID those issues have been exacerbated.

He recognized the full house that turned up to hear the presentations saying their support gives the health advisory council a mandate.

“We did hear nice words and I’m happy to hear some nice words but now we have to follow up with actions. Do I feel that there will be? I think that with the support of the Lloydminster & District Health Advisory Council, I think we will put their feet to the fire.”

With respect to the catchment area for the Lloydminster Hospital, Sayeed concludes that the 75,000 population estimate “understates the number that we really look after.”

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