An increased level of healthcare is being restored in Macklin.

Back in September, it was announced by the Town of Macklin that Nurse Practitioner Lyann Gartner would be starting work in the west-central Saskatchewan community beginning in January 2024.

The SHA release posted below provided a quick background on Gartner's career so far, and personal connections to the Macklin area. It states that the SHA will be notifying the community when patients are officially being accepted.

WestCentralOnline reached out to the Macklin town office for comments on the important news. CAO Kim Gartner is familiar with Lyann, and talked a bit about the re-addition to the community.

"Born and raised here. Her parents both reside in town. Her dad was actually town foreman here for many years." began Gartner.

The new addition didn't have to travel far and was brought in through a team effort.

"She was a nurse in Provost, Alberta, and through discussions we were able to come to an agreement," said Gartner as the local medical committee, local health foundation, and Lyann herself worked together to make this move happen. "That we would help pay for her school, for some sort of return of service agreement."

Gartner described Macklin as having a long history of people coming and going in their healthcare system. The province's Nurse Practitioner (NP) program is appealing to a place like Macklin.

"Especially doctors. We kind of made an agreement with SHA a number of years ago to go into the NP program. We had fantastic outcomes initially, and then when that first NP left we went into a bit of a stale time period where we had people coming and going. To be able to latch on to a local NP is fantastic."

This move should help bring some much needed stability.

"Ever since our hospital, we were one of the 52 that was closed years ago, and we have struggled since then." said Gartner on maintaining consistency when it comes to providing healthcare services. "Primary healthcare in every community is essential. For us it was always recruiting doctors, and now it's turned into recruiting NP's, so to have a bit of stability with someone who has grown up here, has her children in the school here, family connections here; it's an opportunity for us to maybe put some roots down and build on that." 

Gartner talked about the possibility of adding even more staff and the steps that would be needed.

"We have had postings in the past for a second NP. SHA has worked closely with us to free up some money in existing budgets they have allocated to our health clinic. We would take physician funding that's not being used, and flip that into a second NP."

Macklin does face a disadvantage when it comes to recruitment. Because of their location near the Alberta border, Gartner knows the provincial program is their best route to success.

"The NP program is probably our best opportunity where we are situated. We are right against the Alberta border, and it's very tough for us to recruit and retain because our health centre is strictly a Level 4 Care facility." said Gartner as they do offer things like x-ray and bloodwork, but don't see anyone on an outpatient basis.

"When it's strictly a clinic setting, it's hard to recruit physicians in. The community has bought into the NP program, and we have been very satisfied with it." shared the CAO.

Macklin residents only have a short-time left to wait after the initial announcement was made earlier this fall. The west-central community is definitely receiving a boost in the healthcare department, and hope to keep that momentum going with future hires. 

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