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Three doctors now serving Wilkie, long term solution still being sought

The Unity physician group agreed to provide some services to Wilkie to ensure patients have access to care.

WILKIE — After Dr. Kemp’s retirement took place late in 2022, the town of Wilkie and their partners within the Saskatchewan Health Authority worked to ensure Wilkie would have physician coverage.

Dr. Matta has been part of Unity’s Downtown Medical Clinic and had been going to Wilkie for several months serving in a part-time role.  In the July 23, 2021, issue of the Unity-Wilkie Press-Herald, Dr. Matta was introduced to the community.

Dr. Matta has been practising medicine for more than 17 years in different countries around the world with most of her practice in family medicine, children and women’s health.

Dr. Esebameh also joined Unity’s Downtown Medical Clinic in 2021 and will now serve in a part-time role in Wilkie.  She is a general practice physician with several years of experience in rural and urban practice.

It was also recently announced that recently retired Unity physician, Dr. Bloem, who had worked at Unity’s Downtown Medical Clinic since 1997, has now agreed to step into a part-time role also in Wilkie.

This means there is a physician in Wilkie every day.

Wilkie Mayor Ziegler

 “We were in talks with SHA long before Dr. Kemp’s retirement as we were working on securing a replacement for Dr. Elham,” Mayor, David Ziegler, says.

“Dr. Kemp’s retirement accelerated the talks.”

Ziegler says the town of Wilkie partnered with SHA, and more recently surrounding rural municipalities.

With physician services offered Monday to Friday each week, Ziegler says the community has 4.5 days of coverage. 

“One physician does rounds and sees outpatients at the health centre.”

Ziegler affirms there are still no emergency services being offered at this time, but the town is still pushing to have this reinstated and note it is a slow process.

“We are definitely still seeking a permanent, full-time physician in Wilkie as there is a big need for a full-time doctor to serve our residents. The doctors that are in place now have committed to a set period of time, but this is not a long-term solution or plan,” adds Mayor Ziegler.

Ziegler says Wilkie offers service to a large geographical area and they will continue to pursue their quest for a full-time doctor who lives in the community.

“We would like to express our gratitude to Dr. Matta, Dr. Bloem and Dr. Esebameh who have agreed to serve our community.”

Saskatchewan Health Authority

“These three doctors will provide coverage as much as possible, but vacation, personal and educational leaves for each physician will occur from time to time as part of that coverage,” says Faith Nash, Primary Health Care director, Northwest.

“The SHA and government of Saskatchewan are working very hard at recruiting physicians to Wilkie and similar communities in rural parts of the province. The SHA views this coverage as a temporary solution until more physicians are recruited.”

Nash also affirms that the SHA is attempting to recruit a full-time physician for Wilkie. Just this week, the government announced the Rural Physician Incentive Program to help attract family physicians to rural communities, like Wilkie, is increasing to $200,000. That is more than four times the previous amount. Details on this can be found at

“The Unity physician group agreed to provide some services to Wilkie to ensure patients have access to care,” SHA responses to the Unity-Wilkie Press-Herald and SASKTODAY.CA indicated.

“Dr. Bloem has agreed to a part-time contract to work in Wilkie to assist with long-term care coverage and support as well as some clinic time. The SHA is very grateful to Dr. Bloem and her practice for helping provide coverage until we can recruit more physicians to this community.”

Dr. Bloem is providing weekly support and rounding at Wilkie Health Centre long-term care.

Wilkie residents can be assured that the partnership between the town of Wilkie and SHA continues to seek a long-term solution for physician services in their community.


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