Saskatchewan NDP launching health care survey

Saskatchewan NDP health critic Vicki Mowat looks on as party leader Ryan Meili speaks about the party's new health survey. Nathaniel Dove / Global News

Provincial NDP Leader Ryan Meili and health critic Vicki Mowat announced an online survey for Saskatchewan residents to express their thoughts about the health care system.

Speaking in Mowat’s Saskatoon constituency office, Meili told Global News that the survey was a way for Saskatchewan residents to “make clear just what’s wrong with health care today and how much better it can be if we, instead of letting people down, start making the wise investments to build them up.”

Neither Meili nor Mowat identified a specific incident that inspired the survey, though the party leader said “we hear these stories [of frustration] all the time” doctors, nurses and patients.”
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“The message that the Sask. Party is letting people down when it comes to health care is loud and clear,” he said.

He listed a lack of staff in long term care facilities and long wait times for emergency room services as some of the issues that frustrated people.

He also said the survey was a safe way to express criticism.

“Patients are afraid that if they complain about the care their loved ones are getting that it might actually get worse.”

“People are concerned, health care providers in particular, are concerned about losing their jobs if they speak up about the challenges that they’re seeing,” Meili said.

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Mowat said there was no firm deadline on the survey and Meili said that the party was reaching out through professional groups to contact nurses and doctors.

The announcement comes a little more than a week before the MLAs return to the legislature.

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In a statement, a Saskatchewan Party spokesperson said that the government recognizes that “emergency wait times are too long and more work needs to be done.” The statement also said that the party was continually investing and innovating in health care in the province.

The statement said that 900 more physicians and 3,800 more nurses are working in the province since 2007, when the party was first elected, and that the number of patients waiting more than three months for surgery decreased by 89 per cent since 2007.

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