Media Release: More Doctor Woes for Rural Health Care Services in Saskatchewan

For Immediate Release – June 28, 2012

Saskatoon – Over 200 community members attended a public meeting in Wynyard on June 26, 2012 to get information about yet another critical doctor shortage and the impact it will have on hospital services in the East Central area of Saskatchewan. The meeting in Wynyard, hosted by the Saskatoon Health Region, was the second of 2 meetings held, the first was in Wadena.

Health Region officials informed the crowd that the entire area is facing several physician vacancies. Two Doctors will be leaving Wadena, one on July 10, and the other on August 30, 2012 adding to the already doctor-shy Wynyard which is down 3 physicians and Humboldt’s 5 existing physician vacancies.

“We need a Province- wide recruitment solution for rural Saskatchewan that works” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “Clearly, the current recruitment strategy isn’t working well. We are definitely concerned about the level of care the residents of rural Saskatchewan will be able to access”.

Currently, Wadena and Wynyard work on an Emergency By-pass system where if one Emergency room is open the other is closed and vice-versa. Residents were told that if the Wadena physician vacancies are not filled it will likely cause the both emergency rooms to close as early as September 1, 2012.

“We were told that Wynyard has 2 Nurse Practitioners working as part of the Medical delivery service, but their scope of practice isn’t wide enough to ensure that these emergency services are kept open,” said Blair McDaid, SEIU-West Union Representative, who was at the meeting in Wynyard.

“This story is all too familiar in rural Saskatchewan,” says Janice Platzke, SEIU-West Treasurer, “for the last 18 months, the Cypress Health Region has been facing the same type of closures with no real solutions.”

“The fact of the matter is that when an Emergency Room is closed, it stretches the EMS providers who will be required to drive further and will delay vital emergency care and response time,” continued Cape. “When are the Health Regions and the Provincial Government going to come up with a plan that works for rural Saskatchewan? This seems to be yet another example of Band-Aid solutions for a critical wound to public healthcare”.

SEIU-West represents approximately twelve thousand working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members who work in healthcare, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator

Phone: 306.652.1011 ext. 2250


Click on the link below for a printable PDF version of this release:

Media Release: More Doctor woes for Rural Health Care Services in Saskatchewan



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