Rumours swirling re physio dept.

Health Minister Shandro looking into rumour of closure, decreased service

Chris Clegg
Richard Froese
South Peace News

Rumours are swirling that big changes are coming to the physio department at the High Prairie Health Complex, and none of them are good as far as the public is concerned.

The Town of High Prairie and Big Lakes County councils had a chance to ask Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro if it was true the department was closing during a short visit March 24.

“Yes, we bring up the rumour of the physio department closing and [Shandro] knew nothing about it,” says Mayor Brian Panasiuk.

However, he adds he earlier spoke to Reeve Ken Matthews.

“Yesterday, when talking with Reeve Matthews, he has heard that physio is not closing, but it will be limiting its services to ‘in patients’. Everyone else will have to travel for physio,” says Panasiuk.

“This would be a further reduction in services that our hospital is offering and is also not acceptable to me. We need to find out for sure what is happening and lobby to stop it.”

Panasiuk broke the rumour of a possible closure at council’s meeting March 23.

“To me, it makes absolutely no sense,” he says. “It’s a fantastic thing.”

Panasiuk stressed, however, it was just a rumour and nothing definite.

Big Lakes council also addressed what Matthews had heard during their meeting with Shandro.

Matthews says it would be difficult for many people to travel at least 100 km to get physiotherapy, especially after a hip or knee replacement.

Shandro replied he was worried about that and will find out what’s going on.

“It would concern me if it were to close for outpatients,” Shandro says.

“If it’s busy, there’s a need for that service.”

An email was sent to Sara Blake, senior communications advisor, Alberta Health Services, North Zone, on March 26. She advised she was trying to find an answer but would not likely return the request before March 29, too late for press.

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