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Sask. NDP renews calls for government to do more to keep doctors in province

Click to play video: 'After years of frustration, Regina doctor closing clinic doors' After years of frustration, Regina doctor closing clinic doors
A Regina doctor is making waves after announcing she's closing her clinic and she thinks other family doctors will soon be making the same decision. – Mar 11, 2022

The Saskatchewan NDP is raising concerns again regarding doctors leaving the province.

Last week, Regina family physician Dr. Tomi Mitchell announced she would be closing her practice after more than a decade of providing care for residents.

In February, emergency physician Dr. Kevin Wasko announced he took a job with a hospital in Mississauga, Ont.

Read more: After years of frustration, Regina doctor closing clinic doors: ‘It’s done’

Mitchell joined Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili and health care critic Vicki Mowat on Wednesday to highlight concerns about how the government is handling the situation.

“We’ve seen a big drop as well in the number of procedures, the number of visits, the overall billing of physicians,” Meili said.

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“This is directly related to a drop in providers, but also a drop in the care being provided because of the mismanagement of COVID-19,” Meili added.

Meili said it’s time the Saskatchewan Party government “admitted the seriousness of the problems and start working on an immediate response.”

Meili added the government needs to develop a human resource plan in order “to avoid the looming crisis of departures of nurses, care-aids and physicians.”

He added these workers should be at the table since they understand how care works and “can help direct this government in a better direction.”

Mitchell expressed concern about what she is seeing now.

“(Physicians) have been hampered by the lack of resources and the foundation of our healthcare system,” Mitchell said.

“We need real action, not lip service, (and) not dollars spent on the wrong place. We need support.”

In question period on Wednesday at the Saskatchewan Legislature, Health Minister Paul Merriman said he and the rural and remote health minister as well as other Saskatchewan Party MLAs “continually contact and stay in touch with our physicians” along with other health care workers.

“The MLAs bring that information back to the minister of rural and remote health and I​, and then we sit down with our officials to be able to devise a plan on how we can work with those physicians and … clinicians … to make sure we’re providing the best service possible we can within Saskatchewan.”

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He added he offered to sit down and speak with Mitchell on Wednesday, too.

During the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities convention on Wednesday, Premier Scott Moe expressed appreciation for health care workers.

“I, quite frankly, can’t imagine going through the last two years without those health care professionals in our system,” Moe said.

Read more: COVID-19: SHA leader, ER doctor leaving Saskatchewan

“I don’t know how we would have done that, but we do need to do more. We understand that,” Moe added.

Regarding the province’s upcoming budget that will be released on March 23, Moe said residents will see the “first steps in the initiative to ensuring that we are going to do just that.”

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