REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili and Health Critic Vicki Mowat were joined by doctors and patients from Warman and Martensville to call on the government to acknowledge the growing gaps in Saskatchewan’s health system and commit to immediate action.
“Saskatchewan doctors have been underpaid and undersupported for years,” said Meili. “The future prosperity of Saskatchewan hinges on the recruitment and retention of doctors, and under the Sask. Party they’re flowing out of the province faster than they’re coming in.”
Doctors and patients from Warman and Martensville visited the Legislature today to highlight the government's failure to recruit and retain trained healthcare professionals in their communities. With a population of nearly 25,000 and fewer than ten family doctors, they say they are overworked and that residents are going without adequate access to primary care.
In 2016, the government told Dr. Allison Adamus that the communities of Martensville and Warman were to be removed from the list of excluded practice locations. Yet only residents attending Saskatoon and Regina for their training have had these restrictions removed. Residents training elsewhere still have Warman and Martensville excluded from their Return of Service agreements.
The doctor shortage in Warman and Martensville puts even greater pressure on Saskatoon hospitals. As of this morning, 68 patients stuck in ERs in Saskatoon were admitted with no beds available. Additionally, because Warman and Martensville do not have a hospital site, the SHA is unable to provide full lab services and patients must drive 20 kilometres to Saskatoon. The trip has proven costly for those requiring regular lab work.
“Martensville and Warman are being denied adequate healthcare because the government classifies them as a ‘bedroom’ community of Saskatoon,” said Mowat. “This means they have no hospital to match their growing population. As a result, doctors are burning out and many in the community are going without the care they need.”
The Official Opposition calls on the government to immediately support the recruitment and retention of family doctors in Martensville and Warman by removing them from the list of excluded communities for all Return of Service agreements, as requested in a petition signed by nearly 1,500 residents that was tabled in the Legislature today.