REALITY CHECK: New Sask. Party Health Minister can’t handle the truth

The last few days have certainly been tough for the Saskatoon Health Region and the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, as both made announcements of upcoming job layoffs in an effort to balance their budgets in the wake of Sask. Party cuts and underfunding. 

In response to criticism that the government was underfunding health regions throughout the province, despite enjoying nearly a decade of record revenues, newly appointed Health Minister Jim Reiter accused the Official Opposition of “playing politics” and taking the opportunity to “bash the government.”

Nobody in the Opposition is playing at anything. And the only thing that will be bashed by the Sask. Party underfunding and mismanagement is patient care in Saskatchewan hospitals and health centres.

If the Minister wants answers, he’s going to have to admit that he and his government are the ones who caused this growing crisis and they’re the only ones who can fix it. All he has to do follow the straight line from the Sask. Party cuts, to healthcare jobs being cut, to consequences for patient care.

That’s not “politics,” that’s the truth.

Now, the Minister might be a little sore that he was “bashed” with some harsh realities, but instead of licking his own wounds, he should look at the track record of the Sask. Party when it comes to health care.

There are the millions of wasted dollars that have gone into the failed John Black Lean scheme; hospitals and healthcare centers throughout the province are understaffed, and frontline workers are overworked; hospitals are crumbling and being held up by safety nets while the Sask. Party ignores the over $2 billion dollars needed to address the infrastructure deficit; problems with seniors care persist, emergency room wait times are unacceptable; and surgery wait times – the one thing they were getting right for a little while – are now trending in the wrong direction.

The previous Health Minister ignored the consequences to Saskatchewan people and pointed blame toward someone else. It looks like the new Minister will be doing the same old song and dance. For the sake of those workers who are losing their jobs and for all Saskatchewan people who deserve the best care, let’s hope the Minister is willing to change his tune.