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

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

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read