At least 3,420 fewer surgeries this year after cut by Sask. Party

The Sask. Party is cutting more than 3,420 surgeries this year, according to an admission the government made Monday.

Speaking to media about millions of dollars the Sask. Party cut from the surgeries budget this year, Health Minister Dustin Duncan said the province will do “close to” 86,000 surgeries in the current budget year. That’s compared to the 89,420 surgeries performed province-wide last year.

“Cutting back on surgeries means thousands of people will wait longer this year. They’ll be in pain longer, be frustrated longer and many will be off work longer,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten.

“Wait times have been going in the wrong direction fast since the budget cut in March. With all the waste in health care in Saskatchewan, I simply can’t understand why Mr. Wall decided to cut funding for surgeries. That doesn’t match my priorities, and it doesn’t match the priorities of Saskatchewan patients and families.”

On Monday, Broten revealed that since the Sask. Party's budget cuts to health care in March, the number of people waiting more than three months for surgery has increased by 50 per cent.

Earlier in the fall legislative session, Broten questioned the Sask. Party on wait times to see a specialist, which have increased to an average of 10 months in Regina and 11 months in Saskatoon. That wait is dramatically worse than 2013, when nearly 90 per cent of patients waited less than three months to see a specialist.

“If your family doctor tells you tomorrow you need surgery, it’s likely you’ll wait 10 or 11 months for a specialist appointment, then testing and diagnostics, and finally the months-long wait list for your surgery – a wait that’s growing every day,” said Broten. “The government needs to reverse their decision to cut thousands of surgeries this year. Instead, they should scrap the Lean Kaizen Promotion Offices, shift away from the top-heavy management structure, and hire more front-line health care workers so we pay less overtime. I want to make health care better for patients with less waste and more resources for hands-on care.”