This week, Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck and Health Critic Vicki Mowat called on the Sask. Party government to use windfall revenues to urgently address the family doctor crisis in Saskatchewan.
“Whether it’s in our cities or in our rural communities, people are struggling to find a family doctor close to home, if at all. In the birthplace of medicare, that’s just not right,” said Beck. “This is a crisis and needs to be treated as one. Scott Moe is sitting on his hands instead of stepping up. Every person in this province should have access to a family doctor in their home community, and the premier should use our windfall revenues to ensure that.”
The NDP maintains that between 2018-19 and 2020-21, there was a decline of 82 family doctors actively practicing in Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan Health Authority is currently reporting that Saskatoon is currently without a single family doctor taking new patients. It states in other provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have all announced funding to improve access to and supply of family doctors.
“Family doctors are the backbone of our provincial health system. When people don’t have a family doctor, they end up in our hospitals and emergency rooms.” said Mowat. “We have a health minister who claims our system is fine while our ERs and hospitals are bursting at the seams, healthcare workers are burning out and people across the province can’t find access to a doctor. This government needs to step up with a plan before it’s too late.”
The Saskatchewan New Democrats are calling for the province to provide urgent funding to family doctors with overhead pressures in offices and clinics and to review the outdated and inadequate fee-for-service billing structure for family doctors.