NDP disappointed by cancellation of province’s pandemic contracts with family doctors

Concerns from the Saskatchewan NDP were voiced on the last day of the spring session at the Saskatchewan Legislature regarding the cancellation of pandemic contracts between the Saskatchewan Health Authority and the province’s family doctors.

The opposition party described it as a snap decision by the SHA to cancel those contracts, which Health Critic Vicki Mowat believes puts rural healthcare at risk. She challenged the government on the subject after they obtained a letter from family doctors that said it was disheartening the Saskatchewan Medical Association was left out of the conversation.

“The fact that we’re still in a pandemic means there should be some sort of contract in place to acknowledge that because they are still living with those realities today,” said Mowat to reporters on Friday.

Mowat explained that the contract was put in place to ensure stability and flexibility for doctors to practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is still physical distancing measures in place, there is still a requirement for additional cleaning protocols and the patient volumes are still down.”

Health Minister Jim Reiter shared that the contract agreement was set from April 6, 2020 until June 30, 2020 with an opportunity for an extension if agreed upon mutually.

He said it was always the understanding that it was temporary.

“Since we are trying to get services back to as close as normal as we can, we want doctors to go back to what they were doing before the practices,” said Reiter.

“Hopefully it won’t be the case, but if there is a second wave, we will be looking at some sort of contractual arrangement again.”

The health minister mentioned that the dates and terms are “very clear” in the contract.

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