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CL Medical, the medical clinic run by the City of Cold Lake’s municipally controlled corporation, has doubled the number of doctors at the facility since it took over and looks forward to continuing to support the region’s primary care and preventative medicine in the New Year.

The number of physicians hosting their practice at the facility has increased from two to four since the municipally controlled corporation took over the clinic in March this year. The corporation is run by a board of directors comprised of two elected officials and three members at large appointed by Cold Lake City Council. Councillor Chris Vining was appointed to the board and elected President. Councillor Bob Mattice was also appointed to the board along with members at large Paul Mc Williams (Vice President), Lisa Ford, and Melissa Shea.

“The CL Medical Clinic Board of Directors has taken our first few months to understand the clinic’s operations and learn more about physician recruitment in the rural Alberta context,” said CL Medical Board President Chris Vining. “With an increase in interest among physicians looking at practicing at CL Medical, we have also begun discussing possibilities to renovate the clinic and expand the facility.”

CL Medical Clinic currently has four doctors hosting their practices out of the facility, one of whom is focusing solely on his family practice, without responsibilities at the Cold Lake Healthcare Centre. Currently, Dr. Zail Al-Ani, Dr. Jo-Lyndi Van Zyl, and Dr. Lufuluabo (Roger) Katambua host their family practices out of the clinic while also practicing in the Cold Lake Healthcare Centre. Dr. Teean Van Zijl has recently joined the clinic and is focusing solely on a family practice at the clinic.

CL Medical has opened a new path for physician recruitment in the community. Alberta Health Services recruits for doctors who wish to have hospital privileges, which come with a variety of tasks required at the hospital, including surgical assists, Emergency Room Rotations, and other specialist services. While AHS focuses on what is needed for the hospital and its operations, CL Medical can assist AHS in its recruitment efforts while also focusing on recruiting doctors who want to prioritize a family practice.

The City of Cold Lake’s 2022 Census found that 40 per cent of Cold Lake residents lacked access to a family physician. Of the residents who reported having a family physician, 40 per cent said it typically takes three weeks to a month to secure an appointment.

“We can’t thank the doctors and the staff at the clinic enough for their professionalism and their help in understanding the medical system and how a clinic runs,” Vining said. “They’ve been an important part of touring new doctors around the facility and the community, and there is a great sense of optimism about the future of healthcare in our community. We are very fortunate to have such dedicated healthcare professionals, and it will only get better from here.”

More information about the 2022 Census and its findings can be found at www.coldlake.com/census.

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