Moe’s Minister insists health plan is fine
REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck and Health Critic Vicki Mowat slammed Scott Moe’s Sask. Party government after a freedom of information request revealed that, since February, no local ambulance was available to respond to a whopping 1,132 calls for emergency help.
“The Premier needs to stop with the excuses, roll up his sleeves and get this issue fixed,” said Beck. “Over a thousand calls for local ambulances going unanswered sure sounds like a health system in crisis to me. Healthcare should be available when you need it, not hours down a snowy road.”
Saskatchewan Health Authority documents reveal that, from February 14 to October 2, 1,132 instances of code NAA (no local ambulance available) were logged. Communities serviced by private ambulances, such as Saskatoon and Prince Albert, were not included in the SHA’s count.
Regina was hit hardest by the paramedic staffing crisis. There were 323 instances where no local ambulance was available to immediately respond to callers in need. Cut Knife was second at 76. La Loche had 70. Meadow Lake, 58. Buffalo Narrows, 56. Shaunavon, 36. Beauval, 35. Melville, 33. Esterhazy, 31. Whitewood, 30. Indian Head, 28.
At 579, over half of the instances of no local ambulance available occurred in rural communities. In Northern Saskatchewan, the figure was 172.
“I think Saskatchewan people are starting to see through the spin. There’s a big difference between budgeting for 24 paramedics and actually filling all 24 positions,” said Mowat. “This government’s health plan was criticized by health workers and the provincial auditor months ago, and we still haven’t seen the government turn things around.”
During question period, the Opposition read into the record segments of impact statements that Saskatchewan paramedics, who wish to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, submitted to Health Critic Vicki Mowat.