March 23, 2022

News release: SMA welcomes support for physicians in provincial budget

The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) welcomes budget initiatives that support the recruitment and retention of physicians, begin to tackle the surgical backlog, and provide resources to address the ongoing challenges the pandemic is placing on a strained health care system.

“The SMA is pleased to see the government recognizes the need to address issues around recruitment and retention of physicians and health care workers through the creation of a new dedicated agency,” said SMA president Dr. Eben Strydom. “The SMA looks forward to providing physician perspectives into the formation of this agency. Recruiting physicians and retaining them requires long-term, prudent planning to prevent shortages in the future.”

Dr. Strydom also noted the budget allocates $6.44 billion to the health portfolio, an increase in spending of 5.2 per cent, with $95 million allocated for ongoing pandemic spending and $21.6 million to address the surgical waitlist.

“The COVID-19 virus is still among us. It hasn’t gone away, and it continues to put enormous pressure on the health system and health care workers,” said Dr. Strydom. “As we have seen during previous waves of COVID cases, the health system needs adequate resources to respond to immediate and emergent medical needs.”

The backlog in surgeries and medical procedures will require long-term, ongoing planning and funding to bring wait times down to manageable levels, Dr. Strydom added. “The step announced today to address the backlog is welcome, but it is only a first step in providing relief for patients whose procedures have been postponed. Physicians will be pleased when their patients receive the care they need.”

The COVID-19 virus is still among us. It hasn’t gone away, and it continues to put enormous pressure on the health system and health care workers.

Dr. Eben Strydom, SMA president

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