FOI reveals 2023 worst year for obstetric services closures
SASKATOON - Today, Official Opposition Health Critic Vicki Mowat responded to mother-child services again closing in Meadow Lake over the holiday season. Mowat also released new SHA data indicating that 2023 was the worst year in the last half decade for obstetrical care closures.
“Mothers in labour should not have to drive from town to town looking for a doctor in the dead of winter,” said Mowat. “Healthcare should be available when and where you need it. It’s not like pregnant women can schedule births in advance.”
The Moe government came under fire last year after closing mother-baby services at the Meadow Lake Hospital, forcing Kendal Carlberg to give birth on the side of the road. Obstetrical services in Meadow Lake are again closed, and have been closed for 66 days from January to August of 2023, 157 days since 2020.
Meadow Lake has not been the only community affected by Moe’s healthcare closures. Some of Saskatchewan's largest centers have been affected by recent closures to obstetrical services, including Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton, Swift Current, and Estevan.
“The problem is getting worse and we’ve been hearing the same excuses from this government for years,” said Mowat. “The Moe government has failed to hire and retain enough healthcare workers. The longer the Sask. Party is in power, the further people will have to travel for care.”
The SHA data covered obstetrical care closures from August 2019 to August 2023. Factoring in the current Meadow Lake closure, 2023 far exceeded these previous years in terms of total days when obstetrical services were closed at Saskatchewan hospitals, and four months in 2023 are still largely unreported.