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We Will Build On Our Strong Health Care Record

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Premier Brad Wall today said the Saskatchewan Party will continue to look for ways to innovate and improve on its strong health care record of shortening surgical wait times, attracting and retaining more doctors and nurses and building new hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Wall said a re-elected Saskatchewan Party government will reduce administrative positions and costs in Regional Health Authorities by $7.5 million, with savings allocated towards front line care in long-term care facilities.

“We have opened 15 new long-term care facilities in Saskatchewan since we were first elected but there is more to be done to ensure seniors receive the care they deserve,” Wall said.  “By reducing administrative costs and directing those savings to front-line care, we will make our long-term care centres even better for our seniors who reside in them.

“We are proud of our record in health care but we know there is more that needs to be done,” Wall said.  “Health care in Saskatchewan has improved a lot since the NDP was in office.  The NDP had the longest surgical wait times in Canada.  We now have the shortest surgical wait times in Canada.  The NDP was losing doctors and nurses.  There are now 650 more doctors and nearly 3,000 more nurses practicing in Saskatchewan.  The NDP closed 52 hospitals and 1,200 long-term care beds for seniors.  Our government is building new hospitals and long-term care facilities.

“There is more to be done but we’ve come a long way.  Let’s never go back to the terrible state of health care under the NDP.”

Wall said innovative new approaches introduced by the Saskatchewan Party have helped improve health care delivery in Saskatchewan.

“For example, publicly-funded private surgeries have helped take pressure off the public system and played a key role in reducing surgical wait times,” Wall said.  “It’s something the NDP never would have even considered and that one of the reasons Saskatchewan had the longest surgical wait time in Canada when the NDP was in government.

“The NDP still say they are opposed to private surgeries, so the question now is – would the NDP close down private surgical clinics and put more Saskatchewan people back on the waiting lists?”

Wall said a re-elected Saskatchewan Party government will:

  • Provide $500,000 in annual funding to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to integrate vision loss rehabilitation services into the mainstream health system;
  • Reduce CT scan wait lists by providing patients with the option to pay privately for CT scans using the “two-for-one” model recently introduced for MRI scans, under which for every scan paid for privately, the clinic must provide one scan at no charge to a patient on the public list; and
  • Provide an additional $500,000 annually to expand the remote presence technology pilot project underway in Pelican Narrows to other communities.  This initiative uses advanced robotic telemedicine to connect with a patient remotely and provide real-time assessments, diagnosis and patient management.

The Saskatchewan Party will also help those caring for a family member in the final stages of life by extending palliative care leave from eight weeks to 26 weeks.   The federal government recently extended Employment Insurance (EI) Compassionate Care Benefits to 26 weeks for workers caring for a family member near the end of life.

“Better health care services for everyone in Saskatchewan – it’s an important part of our plan to keep Saskatchewan strong,” Wall said.

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For further information:  Kathy Young, (306) 359-1638 or 1-800-966-9611, kathy.young@saskparty.com

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