Ponoka doctor cites need for better ‘work-life’ balance as reason for leaving

Dr. Gage Seavilleklein wants more time with family after deaths of colleagues

Correction: Dr. Joe Myburgh was a general practitioner in Sylvan Lake.

Several Ponoka physicians have made an exodus in the last year, for various reasons, and now another Ponoka physician is leaving, citing the need for a more balanced work-life balance.

Dr. Gage Seavilleklein sent a letter out to patients on Aug. 31 informing them that he is closing his practice in Ponoka, effective Dec. 23, 2020.

“This is a decision that I did not come to lightly and was perhaps the most deliberated decision of my life,” said Dr. Seavilleklein, (known as Dr. Gage) in the letter that was posted on Battle River Medical Clinic’s (BRMC) Facebook page.

The clinic was already short-staffed for physicians, after Dr. Emma Curran announced in April that she would be leaving her practice at the end of June to pursue specialty training, and Dr. Paras Satija closed his practice at the end of August, pointing to provincial cuts as the reason.

Dr. Brendan Bunting retired in December, 2019.

“The importance of this decision was driven home by the recent deaths of my colleagues Drs. Myburgh and Reynolds,” said Dr. Gage in the letter.

Dr. Walter Reynolds was killed on Aug. 10 at the Village Mall Walk-in Clinic where he worked.

Dr. Joe Myburgh was a general practitioner in Sylvan Lake.

READ MORE: Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Dr. Gage goes on to explain that the main factor in his decision is that the time commitments in Ponoka are “too great, and are impacting my ability to be the father and husband I want to be.”

He says that in his first five years in Ponoka, he alternated between 70 and 90-hour work weeks, and that in the last three years, since his daughter was born, he’s only been able to scale that down to about 60 hours a week.

“This has not provided me with the work-life balance I feel I need to ensure I don’t continue to miss important moments and memories in my family’s life … I am forced to change where and how I practice.”

Dr. Gage says he has “deeply enjoyed” his time in Ponoka, serving the community as part of a team of health care professionals.

“I believe that collectively we deliver top-notch quality of care, given the resources we have access to.”

That hardest part of leaving is no longer serving the patients he’s come to know.

“Most of all, I will miss seeing you, my patients,” he said.

“I will forever cherish the laughs and tears we have shared as we tackled your health-related issues.”

Dr. Gage added that BRMC is still “aggressively trying to recruit physicians” to Ponoka.

After Dec. 23, Dr. Gage’s patients can make appointments through the daily access clinic to gain access to all the same health services as before, including Primary Care Network resources.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

HealthPonoka

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: Red Deer has nine active COVID-19 cases

Number of cases increased by 107 Friday

“My world exploded,” says Bentley-area farmer who’s swather was struck by a motorist

Dennis Duncan was a mile from home when his swather was struck by another travelling at high speeds

Man sentenced to 7 years for gas-and-dash death of Alberta gas station owner

Ki Yun Jo was killed after Mitchell Sydlowski sped off in a stolen cube van without paying for $198 of fuel

New owners of Sylvan Lake Canadian Tire looking to be big part of the community

Randy and Alison Patton are the new owners of Sylvan Lake Canadian Tire

Notley to stay on as Alberta NDP leader for 2023 provincial election

The NDP took almost all of Edmonton but few seats outside of the city

Wetaskiwin RCMP make arrests for Hit and Run to residence

Damage estimates are expected to be in excess of $20,000.

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C., Alberta sending nearly 300 fire personnel by Friday to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Some 230 firefighters, most from British Columbia but including a number from Alberta, will be deployed Friday

Death of mother grizzly a ‘big loss’ for bear population in Banff park: experts

The bear, known as No. 143, spent most of her time in the backcountry of Banff

U.S.-Canadian border closure reportedly could extend through November

The border between the two countries has been closed to non-essential travel since March 21

Threat of fall federal election eases as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Congeniality emerged as fears of second wave of COVID-19 were heightened after another case increase

Most Read