“What matters really is what’s going to be done with that money. We need to make sure that the SaskParty government is held accountable, that the money is being spent in a way that’s going to benefit the quality of care for people across the province.”
READ MORE: Saskatchewan reaches agreement with feds on health-care funding
Moving to the focus of their tour, Mowat and Love said the number one thing concern they heard from health-care workers in the Prince Albert area was a lack of consultation and listening.
“They haven’t consulted with the folks that know what’s going on in our hospitals and our clinics and that’s the folks on the ground,” said Love.
“We are going out and doing that listening and actively listening to folks who are on the front lines who feel their voices are not being heard by this government and who feel like the health care that they need isn’t there when they need it,” added Mowat.
One example they gave of this lack of consultation was the SaskParty’s plan to recruit hundreds of health-care workers from the Philippines, which the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses said they were never consulted on.
Part of the Health Solutions Tour brought the MLAs to Shellbrook where they met with workers there saying they have problems recruiting Registered Nurses.
Mowat is also hearing about problems with primary care and is hoping for changes to the fee-for-service model, saying it makes doctors look more like businesspeople.
“Other provinces are taking steps to make sure these jobs are more attractive, allow some work-life balance and still ensure that there’s really good care for the people that are trying to get it,” she said.
Meanwhile, mental health was a major issue brought up and Ritchie said she has heard so much about how mental health and addictions and a lack of resources are hurting communities.
“I’m hearing from municipal leaders on how these problems are being offloaded onto them and they need more resources to help them deal with this crisis facing their community,” she said, adding that police and fire services appear to be using more resources to tackle these issues when they don’t have the tools necessary.
“They feel like things are happening to them rather than happening with them, they want to be partners and they want to be consulted by our SaskParty government,” Ritchie said. “They’re not being listened to; they’re not being heard.”
So, what are the solutions these NDP MLAs are presenting? As mentioned before, Mowat, Love and Ritchie said listening to constituents is the biggest one on their list.
“It’s really about listening to municipal leaders. This is a government that has stopped listening and as a result is making bad policy choices and it’s having a bad impact,” said Ritchie.
Love said he would like to see the return of the Community Health Advisory Networks which he believes has led to a lack of communication and many issues in health care today.
“We think that the crisis, especially in health care staffing that we’re seeing today took years to get to.”
Love is confident though that the solutions to the problem are out there and that the SaskParty government needs to find them and use them.
“There are solutions to these challenges and sitting down to the table with these folks and listening is the first step.”
The Health Solutions Tour started Feb. 1 with Cupar and Southby being the first stops on the tour.