The lack of a physician in the town of Eston has been an ongoing concern since the recruitment of a locum doctor was announced back in December 2019.
Lori Ries, a resident who was on the health recruitment committee and town council for 15 years, talked to West Central Online about the immediate need for a consistent Physician in the west central town.
"Healthcare is very important, especially healthcare with consistency when you have a chronic illness you need the same person treating you all the time. It doesn't work very well when you have physicians coming in and out, and consistency is key to the treatment of most things," Ries said.
She also was concerned what the lack of physician would do to the population of the town and surrounding rural community.
"It's going to force people to leave rural Saskatchewan. That's fine if you can afford to leave small town Saskatchewan and move to a city, but that's a larger cost to live in the cities then it is for people to live in small towns like Eston for example," Ries said.
Unless you are financially stable or healthy you would be considered marginal. That's who is losing out in our community. The people who can't necessarily travel on their own to places like Rosetown and Kindersley for physician services, they may be elderly, and may not able to travel. We have a population of over 1500 people including Eston and surrounding rural areas, that warrants full time medical services, Ries added.
West Central Online reached out to the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Heartland Health Region in the recruitment process of a new physician in the town of Eston, and the Saskatchewan Health Authority had this to say in a statement.
Physician recruitment and retention remains a high priority for the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). This includes physician coverage for the community of Eston.
The SHA has been in discussions with Eston’s local Health Care Committee for quite some time outlining a long-term sustainable plan that would ensure physician coverage in Eston from physicians based out of Kindersley, where physician recruitment efforts continue as well.
Residents of Eston and the surrounding area requiring emergency care should call 911 and may also access emergency services in surrounding communities such as Kindersley, Rosetown or Leader. Eston continues to provide 24/7 Emergency Medical Service (EMS) coverage.
While recruitment efforts continue, the SHA remains committed to provide regular coverage through the Saskatchewan Medical Association’s (SMA) locum program and the Regional Locum program.