Dr. Gregory Sawisky and others at the clinic in Ponoka are still determining what, if any, actions might be needed in the future if the government cuts continue. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Dr. Gregory Sawisky and others at the clinic in Ponoka are still determining what, if any, actions might be needed in the future if the government cuts continue. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Ponoka doctors looking at all options

Government cuts continue to affect mostly rural doctors

Ponoka’s doctors remain displeased with the cuts to health care in the province, but haven’t yet decided on such drastic measures as those in Sundre announced recently.

“The physicians are meeting to discuss what the government’s devastating cuts to rural health care mean for us in Ponoka,” said Dr. Greg Sawisky in an email April 6.

“We remain committed to our patients and want to ensure they continue to receive the highest quality of care in the clinic and at the hospital.

“Unfortunately, the UCP’s cuts to health care might make us change how we offer that care and if we can no longer afford to work in the hospital as well as the clinic. We will have to make some difficult decisions.”

Sawisky added the doctors are hopeful that Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr will continue to advocate for his constituents and will work on reversing these cuts.

“While no changes are planned, unless these cuts are reversed we will have to think about other options.”

READ MORE: Emergency, acute and obstetrics services to be withdrawn in Sundre following provincial cuts

Meanwhile, Ponoka’s doctors are continuing with patient visits — only now they’re over the phone.

Back on March 24, the Battle River Medical Clinic instituted a new policy to limit possible contact with COVID-19.

Sawisky explained that nearly all appointments will now be done over the phone, though doctors may schedule an in-person visit on a case-by-case basis.

“If any issue remains that requires an in-person consultation, they will be offered an appointment in the clinic at the discretion of the physician,” Sawisky added.

However, only those that are not exhibiting symptoms will be offered such appointments.

“If you have a cough, sore throat, muscle pain or a fever, we are still asking you to self-isolate for 14 days.”

For now, anyone wishing to speak to their family doctor is asked to call the clinic at 403-783-3399.

Anyone with concerns about COVID-19 can visit www.alberta.ca/COVID-19.

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