Town forced to move to virtual care in ER as Moe’s recruitment/retention strategy fails
RADVILLE - Last night, Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck and Rural and Remote Health Critic Matt Love attended an emergency community meeting in the Town of Radville. A shortage of healthcare workers is forcing the local hospital to move to virtual doctor care in their emergency room or face a closure.
“This is a community with a proud history of excellence when it comes to delivering healthcare for both the town and the surrounding communities, but they desperately need help. They’ve done everything possible to advocate for their community. Now, they’re facing the prospect of having virtual ER doctors on the phone just to keep the emergency room open,” said Beck. “This is a crisis of the Sask. Party’s own making. They ignored the warning signs from local healthcare workers and now they’re ignoring the crisis in rural healthcare. We deserve better.”
Last night, the Town of Radville hosted a packed emergency meeting on the state of healthcare in the community. Despite the best efforts of local healthcare workers and local leaders, the Radville ER is itself now in a state of emergency. With so few doctors, virtual doctor care is being pitched by SHA as the only alternative to closing the facility altogether.
Local Sask. Party MLA Dustin Duncan was not in attendance, nor any Sask. Party minister.
“Communities want to be engaged. They want to be part of the solution. But this government seems entirely bent on making decisions behind closed doors in Regina,” said Love. “We should be exploring all options, including alternate delivery of care through nurse practitioners and training up local RNs who have strong roots in their communities. The solutions are there but this government is just failing to deliver.”
Last October, the Saskatchewan NDP and the Saskatchewan Association of Nurse Practitioners called for a Grow Your Own strategy to provide training and bridging opportunities in smaller communities to increase retention rates and service availability.
Despite claims by the Sask. Party government that the challenges in healthcare staffing are a nationwide problem, data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information paints a very different picture. Saskatchewan had the largest loss of family physicians in Canada, losing 159 between 2020 and 2021 (most recent available data).