On February 13, Opposition Health Critic Vicki Mowat and Rural and Remote Health Critic Matt Love proposed the restoration of local voices in healthcare by bringing back Community Health Advisory Networks. 

“In every corner of the province, hospitals and health centres are closed and families struggle to find a family doctor,” said Mowat. “It’s clear health region amalgamation and the centralizing of healthcare decisions has failed to deliver reliable, high-quality care for people who need it. Local people and community leaders know what their communities need – it’s time to bring those voices back to the table.”

Community Health Advisory Networks (CHANs) existed in former health regions to provide local community and physician-based solutions that would meet the unique needs of the communities they served, says the NDP. 

“When the province moved towards a single health authority, CHANs were eliminated,” says the NDP in a release. 

They say in addition to municipal leaders calling for a greater say in healthcare delivery, SUMA adopted a resolution in 2020 calling for “the Minister of Health to ensure direct municipal input and involvement in the health system by requiring Community Health Advisory Networks to be established throughout the province.”

“The 2016 Saskatchewan Advisory Panel on Health System Structure Report recommended CHANs be strengthened, not eliminated, and viewed them as part of how to “engage with Indigenous people to help inform how best to address First Nations and Métis health needs in a culturally responsive and respectful manner.” Despite the Minister of Health accepting all the report’s recommendations when the province announced planned amalgamation, CHANs have not yet been reintroduced to date,” says the NDP in a release. 

“We’re only two weeks into our Health Solutions Tour and one thing is crystal clear - local leaders feel shut out of healthcare decision-making,” said Love. “The Minister needs to listen to his government’s own report and bring back Community Health Advisory Networks to restore local voices in healthcare.”