Melita is without an emergency department and hospital admissions for July and August and that has prompted community members to form a group to look for long term solutions.

Prairie Mountain Health says summer staffing challenges are behind the move as the health authority makes temporary adjustments at several locations to ensure reliable and consistent health services for residents and visitors to the region.

A community meeting Tuesday night attracted about 200 people and generated a lot of discussion. Mayor Bill Holden chaired the meeting and was pleased with the two way discussion. “We had Prairie Mountain Health officials including CEO Brian Schoonbaert, staff from Shared Health and MLA Doyle Piwniuk was in attendance.”

“Brian did a great job answering questions as best he could because it’s a tough situation were in and I know lots of communities have challenges but we seem to be hit the hardest out here.”

Holden doesn’t know of any quick fix but he says they will work with Prairie Mountain Health to find solutions.

“I’ve been on so many committees working on health care but we’ve decided to form a task force to see if we can get this thing solved because we have to get some of our services back. Some of the ideas brought up have already been discussed such as urgent care centre. We have an excellent staff with our doctor and two nurse practitioners and we’d like to staff it with more nurses” said Bill Holden.

The mayor says it seems to be the shortage of nurses that is the problem and he’d like to see more LPN courses offered in the area.

“One thing that came up is where do you go if you have an emergency. We have a big catchment area here for our health centre going to the Saskatchewan border and down to the U-S and you need to know where to go if you have an emergency.”

The town plans to print out a map and send it out to area residents.

Another concern is EMT’s in Melita. “We have a staff of eight and two ambulances and right now we’re down to four right now and they keep moving ambulances around because of shortages. And with no E-R it’s imperative we have ambulance coverage.”