NDP: Get back to the drawing board on surgical backlog plan

Experts, health sector partners need a seat at the table to create a plan that works

REGINA - In light of many in the Saskatchewan medical community voicing concerns over the Sask. Party’s recently announced surgical backlog plan, Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili is calling on the provincial government to start over and bring together experts, health sector leadership and impacted stakeholders to create a plan that expands capacity in our public health system. 

“No one except Scott Moe and Paul Merriman thinks this plan will work. There are tens of thousands of people across Saskatchewan suffering as they wait for care. They can’t afford to have this government fail to get the surgery plan right,” said Meili. “We need to listen to the growing concerns from the experts and medical community and bring those voices to the table to craft a plan that will actually work.”

Since the release of the provincial government’s plan to reduce the province’s massive surgical backlog there has been growing criticism of the potential impacts and effectiveness of the proposed plan: 

  • “We cannot weaken the public sector in favour of the private sector. I think that’s something that would be a danger.” - Dr. Ivar Mendez, Provincial Head Department of Surgery University of Saskatchewan
  • “There isn't anybody sitting around on the sidelines not working at the moment. If you're recruiting people from the hospital market to try to convince them to work at a private facility, then you simply reduce capacity in the hospitals.” - Dennis Kendel, health policy consultant and physician
  • “When people talk about eliminating wait times, they think you snap your fingers and magical things will happen. If we rob valuable public dollars out of the public health-care system and put them into the private system, we are simply prolonging the decline of a public health-care system.” - SEIU-West President Barb Cape
  • “Why would anyone be proud to be working in Saskatchewan for a government that has let us down throughout this entire pandemic? I know the nurses that are in critical care right now don’t want to be in critical care . . . during this pandemic . . . primarily because of Scott Moe’s decisions.” - ICU nurse Whitney Walker-Ross
  • “Contracting out surgeries is not a magic silver bullet for wait times. There is a limited pool of health care staff, and privatization of more health care services will pull medical staff away from the public system.” - Bashir Jollah CUPE 5430 President

“This government created this mess in our surgical system – by cutting funding to the Sask. Surgical Initiative, by allowing waitlists to balloon over the last 6 years, and by ignoring the experts and allowing the 4th wave to collapse our health system,” said Meili. “We don’t need an 8-year experiment that likely won’t work. We need a collaborative plan that strengthens our public health system and gets Saskatchewan people the care they need.”


For more information please contact:

Brock Bowman



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