A yearly tradition is underway for the president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association.
Dr. Joanne Sivertson is criss-crossing the province meeting with physicians and their associates.
Sivertson, who is an obstetrician from Prince Albert, says staying in touch with members – not just at this time of the year – is crucial. She says there are many issues Saskatchewan doctors are facing, including amalgamation.
“We are, as a group, cautiously optimistic about the amalgamation to a single health region,” Dr. Sivertson said. “We’re hearing loud and clear from the physicians, and we’ve been advocating loudly as the SMA to ensure that we just don’t centralize all of our services. We are vert adamant patients are able to obtain care closer to home.”
Sivertson says there are quite a few issues doctors want to discuss, including health region amalagamation and proposed changes to the federal tax structure. She says physicians are sounding a cautionary note about patients getting the best care.
“Saskatchewan is small,” Dr. Sivertson said. “We have to continue to work together as a group. We think it’s a good place to practise medicine, but we still are on the lower end of the scale in far as number of physicians per capita. And we’re hearing from our members as well that they’re at risk of burning out.”
Sivertson, says it’s imperative to keep in touch with members throughout the province as there are quite a few issues doctors are grappling with.
“In general, physicians are feeling vulnerable with how their entire system is in flux,” Dr. Sivertson said. “Whether we’re talking about the single health region, or the tax changes, or the negotiations. All of these things make physicians feel that they’re uncertain what their lives will look like in a year’s time, or five year’s time.”
Sivertson says Saskatchewan is a good province to practise medicine, but she does caution some physicians are feeling burned out.
Wednesday night, Dr. Sivertson will meet with physicians from the Regina-Qu’Appelle Regional Medical Association.
Dr. Sivertson, was elected president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) at the 2017 spring Representative Assembly. She succeeds Gravelbourg family physician Dr. Intheran Pillay.