NDP calls for action to reduce wait times as Sask. Party hands contract to out-of-province donor, doubles down on Canada Health Act violation

NDP Leader Ryan Meili slammed the Sask. Party for expanding the use of private MRIs by contracting with an out-of-province corporate donor that will send the work out of province, letting the wealthy pay to jump the queue instead of developing strategies that retain local talent and actually reduce wait times.

“The Sask. Party is doubling down on a failed experiment that adds pressure to our healthcare system and our Emergency Rooms,” said Meili. “For most people, who can’t afford to pay to jump the queue, this means longer wait times and more strain on the whole healthcare system.”

According to the Sask Tenders website (RQRHA20180611), the $14 million contract for a long-promised MRI clinic in Saskatoon has been awarded to Mayfair Diagnostics, a Calgary-based company that has donated thousands of dollars to the Sask. Party under a previous name, and that has lobbied the province extensively

As with the private MRI clinic in Regina, Meili says the majority of the scans will be sent to Calgary to be read by Calgary radiologists, contrary to medical best practice. And as with the bid process that led to a private clinic in Regina, Meili says the Sask. Party passed over a bid from a group of local radiologists to go with an out-of-province company that donated and lobbied but that won’t do the work in Saskatchewan. 

“The government is putting our public health care system at risk, shutting out local talent, and outsourcing the crucial work of interpreting these scans to out-of-province radiologists who don’t pay taxes here,” said Meili. “That’s not just bad for the Saskatchewan economy, it’s bad medicine. Just like when it comes to building our schools, roads and hospitals, the work of keeping Saskatchewan people healthy should be done right here in Saskatchewan.

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