SARM Sounds Alarm on Healthcare Crisis Facing Rural Saskatchewan

SARM joins Carla Beck’s NDP in call for Grow Your Own staffing strategy

REGINA - Today, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) sounded the alarm on healthcare “staff shortages throughout rural areas of the province”. SARM called the situation a “crisis” and urged the provincial government to start up a Grow Your Own staffing strategy, something Carla Beck’s NDP has also called for.

In a news release, SARM confirmed that rural communities are facing ongoing challenges providing consistent nursing services and emergency room care. SARM pointed to local nurse practitioners as one possible solution. According to SARM, 10% of nurse practitioners in Saskatchewan are unemployed and continue to work as registered nurses.

“Healthcare workers who grew up here are most likely to stay here. A Grow Your Own strategy is just common sense,” said Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck. “This Premier has taken rural Saskatchewan for granted and I think a lot of people are ready for a change.”

According to the Canadian Institute of Health Information, there were 2234 rural/remote registered nurses in 2018 when Scott Moe took office. The most recent available data shows that there are only 1760. That’s the largest dip in the nursing workforce in all the provinces studied at -21% since 2018.

The Sask. Party government has closed services, such as emergency rooms or laboratories, at a minimum of 53 different hospitals since Scott Moe took power. Most of these closures occurred in rural communities and because of staffing shortages.

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