Sask Party sat on its hands for weeks while Saskatchewan’s only PET scan machine closed

Today, Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck and Health Critic Vicki Mowat grilled the Sask Party government for sitting on its hands while Saskatchewan’s only PET scan machine, used to check for signs of cancer, heart disease and brain disorders, was closed for weeks.

“Waiting anxiously for a potential cancer diagnosis can be terrifying,” said Beck. “If my loved one needed a PET scan for cancer and the province’s one and only PET scan machine was closed, I’d sure as heck expect my government to work around the clock to find a fix. I’m so deeply disappointed to learn that the Sask Party government did not make fixing this problem a priority.”

The Official Opposition was joined at the Legislature by Morris Eagles. Morris’ wife is worried about cancerous tumors in her lungs. She was scheduled to have a PET scan in Saskatoon in September, but the scan was canceled because of a staff shortage and a shortage of the special radiotracer serum used to operate the PET scan machine.

Calgary and Edmonton both have facilities to produce the special serum, but the Moe government did not purchase any. 

Morris and his wife asked if she could go to Calgary for a scan, given that the PET machine at the Royal University Hospital is the only one in the province, and when it stops working, everyone in Saskatchewan has to go without PET scans. Sask Party officials, however, said that the government would not cover the cost.

The PET scan closure has now made Saskatchewan’s diagnostic backlog even worse today, with Morris’ wife and people like her waiting even longer for a biopsy and even longer for a diagnosis.

“This government is paying top-dollar to fly in contract radiologists but has proven completely incapable of filling these positions long-term,” said Mowat. “Moe’s healthcare recruitment plan is failing on all fronts and has shown very little results when it comes to recruiting and retaining diagnostic specialists. The people of Saskatchewan deserve healthcare when and where they need it.”

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