Doctor in the Works for Warburg?

Vol. 15, Issue 4, The Leduc-Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer

Warburg FCSS Coordinator, Marj Savage and Cloverleaf Manor Manager, Gail Brozny met with Warburg Council on January 10, 2011, to discuss an initiative to bring a doctor to Warburg and establish a medical clinic to provide medical services to Warburg and area residents. This is a possibility through the Rural Alberta Development Fund.

Savage spoke of 3 health pillars, one pillar—Rural Health Delivery—supports projects that encourage seniors to stay in their own communities while providing access to health care–health care in the form of a local doctor and clinic.  Savage says Warburg Health and Wellness Committee (WHWC) is tasked to discover how best to start the process--“Do you query a Family Practitioner to see what he or she wants in a clinic, or do you start with a clinic in hopes of enticing a doctor here?”

It has been a struggle to keep the resident numbers up at the Cloverleaf Manor largely due to the lack of a local doctor.

There are currently 50 residents at Cloverleaf Manor out of a capacity of 62 residents. Brozny said, “There are seniors needing placement. A doctor here might motivate them to come here.” 

Savage noted when rural residents retire and sell their farms, their family members do not want them staying out on farm, isolated and far removed from medical care. Retirees tend to move to communities with readily available medical facilities rather than moving to the Village (Warburg) where they could live near people they know.

WHWC surveyed 320 rural and community residents in the western region of Leduc County including Pigeon Lake and Mulhurst areas in late 2010. 51 surveys were returned.  After reviewing the survey results, WHWC advises securing funding (a 25 percent matching grant) and moving forward to support a local basic clinic to get a family physician in to service clinics in both Breton and Warburg communities—so many days in each community.  “Working with Breton may encourage a younger (physician) family to move into rural setting to look after both communities,” said Savage.  

There was a Council question as to whether Breton still offers physician services as a number of smaller communities are losing their health care providers (though, as Mayor Kohl noted, “they’re not losing the demand.”)

Leduc-Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer contacted Claro Clinic in Drayton Valley and was told there is no administrator. We asked Sandy (who answered the phone but did not wish to give her last name) if the Breton Medical Associate Clinic is closing and when. She responded, “We still have two doctors going out there. There’s nothing imminent.”

That point aside, Mayor Kohl noted the Leduc Foundation has identified securing a physician as a need in the west end of Leduc County.

What is next? The Committee will be “moving forward with the initiative and how it will look.” They will also be developing a “serious funding proposal” and “finding where we fit in.”  Savage states they also would like to get WHWC registered as non-profit society. She says questions remain, including “Do we create a Thorsby/Breton/Warburg clinic?” 

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