Saskatchewan health-care workers share staff and demand concerns to SMA

Health-care concerns were a hot topic even before the pandemic put further stresses on workers and wait times.

Now one of the main focuses for Saskatchewan is recruiting and retaining doctors and nurses to help alleviate the province’s healthcare demands.

Physicians across the province took the chance to voice their concerns about Saskatchewan’s health-care sector during the Saskatchewan Medical Association‘s (SMA) 2022 Spring Representative Assembly (RA).

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Topics ranged from surgical wait times to parking concerns at Regina General Hospital but the main question from many was about how to increase staffing and reduce work loads for current physicians and nurses.

Saskatchewan’s Minister of Health Paul Merriman said, “Our goal is to start by addressing pressing issues and get our health-care system back on track for the future.”

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A family physician out of Moose Jaw says she has over 800 patients and with the stresses of her workload, she wondered what the plan is to keep more physicians in rural areas.

“The best person to probably work in family medicine is somebody that has a family here in Saskatchewan, so we want to be able to make sure that we’re getting those individuals through the process and then we’re retaining them.”

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Merriman noted the province has an 84-per cent retention rate for health-care workers who practice in the province.

Even with the statistics, another doctor shared his concern with rural doctors buying out their three- to five-year contracts and leaving before their time is up.

Another, meanwhile, brought up the issues of other services missing staff as well such as mental health professionals and nurses.

Saskatchewan Minister of Mental Health & Addictions Everett Hindley addressed the concern and said, “We have more to recruit and retain in this province… RNs, LPNs, continuing care aids, lab techs…”

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The provincial budget made the biggest investment into health care in Saskatchewan history with $5.2 million being allocated for physician contracts and recruitment. Another $1.5 million will be used for health-care worker recruitment incentives for those coming from the Philippines.

However, doctors said while those investments are welcome, they are long-term solutions that will not help them in the tough months to come.

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Another Saskatchewan resident brings story of surgery delay to legislature – Apr 27, 2022

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