Health care services being disrupted by staff shortages in rural communities in the province was discussed during Thursday’s question period.
The provincial opposition says the staffing problem has been an issue for years in rural Saskatchewan but has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Rural Health Everrett Hindley says the province is working on many different initiatives . He noted that his ministry is working with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Advanced Education in regards to training. He added that they working with the Ministry of Immigration and Career Training when it comes to recruitment for professionals that are currently outside of the province.
Opposition Deputy Leader Nicole Sarauer says that services have also been affected areas in the urban areas in the province. She said that surgeries in Regina can’t fully resume because they are short of 20 operating nurses and said that the organ donation program is still not running in Saskatoon due to staff shortages.
The pause of services were needed in order to deal with overcrowding ICUs according to Health Minister Paul Merriman, he also said that 90% of cancelled services have resumed operations in the province.
The Saskatchewan government’s handling of the pandemic resulted in a huge cost for the health care system according to the provincial NDP.
Opposition Health Critic Vicki Mowat says there has been plenty of avoidable costs for hospitals. She said the average cost of a hospital stay has costed more than $14,000, accompanied by 2,814 hospital stays during the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in nearly $40 million in costs for hospitals.
Merriman responded that the primary focus of the government dealing with the pandemic is patient care and not necessarily the dollar amounts