NDP Leader Ryan Meili was joined by Sue Delanoy who has been waiting over two years for double hip surgery, to call on the province to address the growing backlog of surgeries in the province by providing adequate funding.
“Even before the crisis hit, people were waiting too long,” said Meili. “And COVID-19 had a drastic impact on the number of surgeries being performed in the province – almost 11,000 fewer than the year before. Now, with wait lists longer than ever and over 26,000 patients on the list, the Sask. Party government has done nothing new to add more resources to the health system to bring wait lists down. The Sask. Party’s budget completely missed the mark and just leaves Saskatchewan people waiting.”
Wait times had already been growing since the province stopped funding the Saskatchewan surgical initiative in 2015. This year’s cut-and-paste budget includes no new dollars beyond what was already allocated before the pandemic, which significantly worsened the problem.
With no new funding and no plan to address the wait list, people like Delanoy have been left in the lurch. She wrote to the Health Minister in May but has not been given any clarity as to when she or others can expect to get their surgery.
“I’ve been waiting for over two years,” she said. “I’m lucky that I can afford the drugs and therapies to see me through to these surgeries, but what are people supposed to do who can’t? Seeing how things are going, I totally understand why older people move away from Saskatchewan to seek better living conditions — because without a health system that’s able to meet people’s needs, you’ve got no quality of life. The government needs to act quickly to reimagine a better way, because what they’re doing just isn’t working.”
“Thousands more people have been forced to put their lives on hold waiting for a surgery or a test in recent months,” Meili said. “And all the Sask. Party has done is underfund the public system and open the door to privatization. People are looking for a plan that puts people first — and that starts with proper funding."