Western Manitoba community scrambles to find physicians after doctors resign

By on August 20, 2015


Shoal Lake/Strathclair Health Centre (photo from the Assiniboine Regional Health Authority of Manitoba)
Shoal Lake/Strathclair Health Centre (Photo from the Assiniboine Regional Health Authority of Manitoba)

SHOAL LAKE, Man. – A community is western Manitoba is scrambling to find new staff after both of its physicians handed in letters of resignation.

Both of the doctors have worked at the Shoal Lake/Strathclair Health Centre for more than 20 years.

Don Yanick, reeve of the RM of Yellowhead, says the resignations put the community in a bad spot.

He says if they can’t find replacements by November the health centre’s emergency room will be closed indefinitely.

The health centre serves about 3,200 people in the area.

The closest alternatives are emergency rooms in Russell and Minnedosa.

The nearby communities of Birtle, Rossburn and Erickson no longer have physicians and Hamiota’s emergency room is known to close intermittently on the weekends.

“There would be a lot of options for us to go to if there were doctors there but there isn’t,” Yanick said.

The Prairie Mountain Health authority’s website lists 17 physician vacancies in the region and 334 other health-care related vacancies, including administrators, nurses and paramedics.

CEO Penny Gilson says Shoal Lake will be added to the vacancy list, but she has no idea when the spaces might be filled.