MOOSE JAW - Today, Official Opposition Health Critic Vicki Mowat and Critic for Rural and Remote Health Jared Clarke joined Dr. Ata Stationwala, a leading podiatrist and past president of the Saskatchewan College of Podiatrists, at his clinic. Dr. Stationwala has been trying for months to get an audience with Minister McLeod to discuss a simple solution to a common administrative issue that is causing longer patient wait times and increased work for family doctors and foot specialists.
“Healthcare workers have solutions to improve wait times and save the system money but this government is refusing to listen to them. The Sask. Party is making more and more decisions behind closed doors in Regina because they think they know better than frontline workers,” said Mowat. “Let’s bring them to the table and actually deliver real solutions for patients.”
Under the current legislative framework, podiatrists in Saskatchewan are not able to directly refer patients to health care specialists. This can cause delays in access to care which can be dire for patients in need of urgent treatment.
An additional barrier to receiving care is the fact that 200,000 Saskatchewan residents currently don’t have access to a family doctor.
“Allowing podiatrists to make direct referrals will save the system money and allow expedited access to specialists for our patients,” said Dr. Ata Stationwala. “In cases where our patients do not have a physician, we are forced to request the patient attend walk-in clinics or emergency clinics to gain access to specialist referrals. In my opinion, this is not an appropriate use of limited health care resources.”
Specialists are not able to bill for consultation requests because they do not have a provincial billing number. The solution is a simple administrative one that wouldn’t cost the province a dime. Allowing podiatrists to make direct referrals will save the health system money and allow expedited access to specialists for Saskatchewan patients.
Despite sharing an office wall with Minister McLeod’s constituency office, Dr. Stationwala requests for a meeting to find a solution have been met with radio silence.
“In my past role as President of the Saskatchewan College of Podiatrists, I was directly involved with legislative reform for my profession. I know that, when our government wants to, it can quickly make changes needed to improve the lives of Saskatchewan residents,” said Dr. Stationwala. “I also know that when it wants to, it does not worry about what other provinces are doing and takes a leading role. I am humbly requesting that the Ministry of Health make this a priority, and again put patients first.”