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Open letter on Good Samaritan Society decision from former Taber resident

Posted on June 22, 2016 by Taber Times

I would like to add my thoughts and comments to your recent announcement to discontinue the use of the Co-Op pharmacy for the prescription and consultation services for Good Samaritan Society.

Some of you may recognize my name as I was the Development Officer for the Town of Taber until November 2015.

I was with the Planning Department in 2007 when your organization built your building and listened at length to your staff vision of wanting to be a caring member of the community.

One of my last permits was to assist your residents to put in the pergola they enjoy on your front lawn to improve their quality of life.

My mother was also a resident of the facility until her death in August 2015.

It was through this time I have seen first hand the value of having a local and dedicated pharmacist as part of your team.

Caryn was far more than just someone who dispensed drugs, she was someone whose professional on-site consultations and caring were invaluable to my mother and all other residents. These residents are fragile and their care can be complicated at the best of times.

Having a local professional who could make quick adjustments to meds provided much needed comfort to my mother during this difficult time.

I mention my previous role in the context I know what it is like to make hard decisions which are not going to be well received by the community.

From a professional perspective I am stunned there was not any public/staff/local professional consultation on this issue. If there was a problem with Co-Op, there are two other pharmacies in the town or even a Lethbridge option.

By not allowing the community to have a voice in a solution to such an issue, your organization will be perceived once again as uncaring and arbitrary. From a professional perspective, I understand there can be fiscal benefits to volume buying or streamlining process, but our seniors are not commodities this logic can be applied to. They deserve the best we can give them at this stage of their lives.

When I think of all the talk I have heard over the years about being part of the community, I question how this decision could possibly be made? In a time when rural health is already in crisis, solutions lie in using more effective local solutions, not less, and I say this from both a human and planning perspective.

I may no longer live in Taber, but I call many of the residents and local staff at Good Samaritan Society friends and they are near and dear to my heart.

Your local staff needs all the tools possible on the ground to look after this most precious resource. I would hope you quickly reconsider this decision as I sense a backlash coming, likely of the same proportions as the scandal with the last site manager. I remember the effect the stress of that controversy had on my mother and her friends.

I would hope you would spare the current residents anymore of this upheaval and continue to provide the residents with the professional, caring and effective service the Co-Op now provides.

LORRAINE BELANGER

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