NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier says the Sask. Party has to start prioritizing recruitment and retention of specialist physicians –because by the end of the year, the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region (RQHR) will be down to only 15 radiologists from about 25.
The number of radiologists leaving is a result of the Sask. Party's move to stop a Regina radiology group from providing in-hospital services to patients. Among those leaving are Regina’s only neuroradiologist and radiologist doing cardiac MRIs.
With two more radiologists expected to retire by the end of 2016, Chartier said long waits for patients for diagnostic tests like x-rays and MRIs will only get longer.
“To hear that more and more specialized radiologists are leaving the region is highly concerning for patients and families,” said Chartier. “Patients should be the priority. Wait times should be the priority. Instead, the government is stubbornly insisting that their plan to break apart a radiology group is the priority."
This comes after a decades-old contract ended at the beginning of December 2015, and government refused to renew it despite calls from radiologists that it would hinder recruiting and retaining radiologists. Frustrated radiologists continue to care for patients – but more and more are choosing to leave as a result of the disrespect and misplaced priorities of the government and its health region.
"There is no end to the amount of consultants and executives in health care being added by the Sask. Party," said Chartier. "But when it comes to frontline staff and specialists – the people who are helping patients and families get the care they deserve and need – the Sask. Party is cutting jobs and turning a blind eye to shrinking numbers. That’s an unacceptable trend that needs to stop immediately.”