Milk River: The limited physician situation in Milk River seemed to be turning around but,
instead, it simply came full circle. However, there is a glimmer of hope.
After an extensive recruitment effort by Alberta Health services, Milk River
did get a physician. Dr. Husameddin Alshgagi came from Libya, where he completed
his medical training in 2003. He finished his internship in 2005 and began his
career as a G-P in Tripoli and Jfarah, Libya.
Dr. Alshgagi worked along
side retired Dr. Elizabeth Lewke-Bogle, during a transition period and then
opened his own practice last December. Alberta Health continued efforts to find
two more doctors for the Milk River area.
However, after only 9-months, Dr. Alshgagi is closing shop for "personal
reasons". South Zone Medical Director Dr. Vanessa Maclean, adamantly refused to
discuss details of Alshgagi's decision, stating, "Out of respect for him, I am
not going to speak on his behalf and we have made our satement about that". She
went on to say, "If there are only questions about him, then I really don't have
anything to say".
The Doctor Recruitment process for Milk River has been ongoing for several
years and it will continue. Dr. Maclean was happy to annnounce that the
recruitment committee hopes to have another doctor in the town by early summer.
There should be an official announcement in the next few weeks
Dr. Maclean noted, "The recruitment committee continues to come up with
innovative ways of promoting the opportunities in Milk River".
Part of the problem in finding doctors is the fact that there is a long
list of rural communities all around Alberta who have also undertaken a
recruitment process. Dr. Maclean says, "You know, we literally promote the
opportunities of each community, to make sure you get a really good match of
doctor-to-community -- then you have to do everything you can to support that
physician and their family moving to the community and establishing their
practice and establishing relationships in the community."
Until a new physician is in the town, Alberta Health Service will seek out
locum or short-term physician coverage. Emergency Medical Services, including a
paramedic, will be in place at the Milk River Health Centre to provide 24/7
critical care coverage. Area residents will also be able to visit Emergency
Departments in Raymond and Lethbridge.