Merriman MIA while health system caves
SASKATOON - Today, Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck and Health Critic Vicki Mowat stood outside the Saskatoon cabinet office to call on the province to scrap their proposed private surgery plan and call on Health Minister Paul Merriman to address the suite of issues jeopardizing the health of Saskatchewan people.
“Saskatchewan’s health system is in a short-staffing crisis. If Scott Moe would listen to the experts or even his head of surgery, he’d know that creating a private surgical clinic relying on the already scarce workforce simply won’t work,” said Beck. “Scott Moe already had to send Saskatchewan patients out of province in the height of the pandemic for care. What’s remarkable is he’s now actually planning to do the same with this latest half-baked plan. We don’t need to rely on other province’s health systems to care for our own, we need to fix our public health system here at home.”
The head of Saskatchewan’s surgery department Dr. Ivar Mendez has criticized the proposed surgery plan saying the province needs to bolster the public system rather than expand private options. The Sask. NDP is calling on the province to expand current operating and diagnostic hours and incentivize and fund more full-time scarce positions including diagnostics, anesthesiologists and OR nurses to help manage the surgical backlog.
“We haven’t seen Paul Merriman address the public or media in months. All while new mothers face a terrifying epidural shortage, Monkeypox emerges, hospitals across the province are being shuttered and our hospitals here in Saskatoon are again bursting at the seams,” said Mowat. “We all love a great Saskatchewan summer, but the minister has a job to do. Now is not the time to be radio silent.”
Merriman has not given a public press conference since May. Meanwhile:
- Thirty six hospitals and care centers are experiencing service disruptions.
- Surgery waitlists are longer now than at any time during the pandemic.
- Emergency wait times in large centres like Saskatoon are ballooning.
- Monkeypox is emerging as a public health issue.
- Health care workers are decrying the government steering patients and public dollars out of the province and towards private clinics.
- Expectant mothers are being told to rely on alternative methods of pain management as epidural supplies dry up.