After nearly a decade of the Sask. Party blowing through surpluses, the Rainy Day Fund, and record resource revenue, the last several months have been marred by example after example of ways the government is forcing Saskatchewan people to pay for Sask. Party mismanagement. The latest came yesterday when the Saskatoon Health Region announced they will be forced to lay-off frontline healthcare staff and still be left with a $30 million deficit.
“Understaffing is already putting patients at risk. Saskatchewan hospitals are busting at the seams, surgical wait times are growing, and our parents and grandparents in long-term care are not getting their basic needs met,” said NDP Health Critic Danielle Chartier. “No matter how you slice it, these new cuts to services and staffing will hurt patient care even more.”
Other health regions are also suffering from the Sask. Party’s underfunding. The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region recently posted a $15.2 million deficit for last year and the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region currently has more than $20.3 million in accumulated operating debt.
“The Sask. Party is pushing the regions into deficit with underfunding and, at the same time, telling them to not run deficits,” Chartier said. “As a result, health regions are forced to make the tough decisions, which ultimately means cuts to patient care.”
Chartier also noted that these cuts to patient services are even more significant given that Saskatchewan is the cradle of Canada’s healthcare system.
“For decades, beginning with Premier Douglas and Prime Minister Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan politicians of all stripes have worked together to ensure the accessibility and quality of healthcare,” said Chartier. “It’s frankly disappointing that Brad Wall and the Sask. Party are unwilling to live up to and honour this proud and principled Saskatchewan tradition.”