Craik ralliers call on government to add health services to town

Ralliers gathered at Craik & District Health Centre Friday afternoon. Kael Donnelly / Global News

CRAIK, Sask. – About 100 residents of and around the town of Craik rallied Friday afternoon to pressure the government into adding more health services to the community.

“We think it’s a reasonable proposal. It’s a good proposal,” said David Ashdown, a member of Saving Our Health Care Task Force, who spoke at the rally, held at Craik & District Health Centre.

The group’s main requests for the centre include increasing the doctor’s work days from four to five a week, and restoring full-day emergency services, which were removed from the centre years ago.

Currently, ambulances do not stop at the centre.

Ashdown, who was joined by the town’s mayor and the reeve of the R.M. at the rally, said the written requests were sent to the government earlier this month and were not granted.

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Bert Linklater, senior vice president of operations at Five Hills Health Region (FHHR), said that contract negotiations are underway with the doctor to maintain the current four-day schedule.

The doctor provides emergency services during business hours.

“There is off-again, on-again [emergency] services. So our objective would be to stabilize that so it’s predictable,” he said.

Linklater said he wants residents to have access to those services at all hours, which could be accomplished via a health facility about 30 kilometres away in Davidson, Sask.

“That’s better than being transported to Saskatoon, Regina, Outlook, other places that the ambulance would have to go if the service isn’t stabilized in Davidson,” said Linklater.

Maintaining that service at all hours could work with the aforementioned doctor if the doctor was available one day a week, which is not included in the his four-day schedule.

The task force also highlighted communication as a problem with FHHR.

“Why can’t the health region, the health region board, or their officials come, sit down, have an open meaningful conversation with the mayor and the council, with the reeve the council, and work things out? There’s a level of arrogance here,” said Ashdown.

“You can always do more. Certainly if we were looking at long-term, what things could change for health services in that community, yeah we could sit down and talk to the community some more,” said Linklater.

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Lines of communication with community leaders have been open throughout the process, he added.

The task force plans to hold a rally on Monday at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building.

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