Regular readers of this column know full well I have lobbied for renal dialysis service in High Prairie for about three years on these pages.
Others may call it belly-aching, whining, sniveling. No matter. The need is there and it is something the region needs. It is not a luxury and to call it that is simply insulting.
It appears there is room for optimism. Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee says High Prairie town council met with the government at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association conference in Red Deer Sept. 25-28. She says they attended with “a strong contingent” to lobby for the service. One of the meetings was with Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman.
“She made it clear the need for dialysis is needed,” says Larivee of Hoffman.
“They are still doing some analysis.”
Then a very interesting statement came from Larivee.
“It’s matter of when and not if,” she says.
Wow! Heading into an election campaign, that is an extremely bold statement.
I predicted years ago [as did George Keay] that this issue would be forefront of an election campaign for the New Democrats to be re-elected. Given Larivee’s statement, that appears to be the case.
When High Prairie politicians, and healthcare groups, began lobbying for renal dialysis years ago, each knew it was not going to happen overnight. They were in it for the long haul. The most damaging fact that hindered local efforts was when the Lesser Slave Lake Health Advisory Council intentionally did not mention High Prairie’s need for renal dialysis services in their 2015-16 annual report. But they did mention Wabasca!
It is once again time to remind government of the need. Research of the numbers regarding the High Prairie and area’s need for renal dialysis service certainly suggests we need it desperately, and are more deserving than other areas which have the service.
Taking into account that the Northern Alberta Renal Program said in 2007, “… such a unit could not be operational until sufficient demand exits in the area for this type of service” smacks of the ignorance of this useless, pathetic organization.
Consider this. Alberta Health Services issued their own information called Alberta Health Primary Health Care – Community Profiles in March 2015. It indicated High Prairie ranked second in Alberta for diabetes. Meanwhile, Lac la Biche, ranked 17th, and Slave Lake, ranked 30th, had superior service.
Bet the NARP people are proud of that! What a great job they are doing!
To further state our case, diabetic rates per 100 people are as follows:
* High Prairie is 69.10 per cent above Alberta average;
* Lac la Biche is 29.09 per cent above Alberta average;
* Slave Lake is a measly 20 per cent above Alberta average.
These are Alberta Health’s own numbers. It should lead a person with any common sense to conclude the service should be – and is needed – in High Prairie.
The obvious question is what is there left to study?
Nonetheless, it appears headway is being made.
“It’s matter of when and not if,” says Larivee, who notes Alberta Health is now aware of these numbers.
It’s good news. Now it is more imperative than ever to turn the heat up on government to ensure this vital and needed service is provided to High Prairie. The worst thing we can do now is get complacent.