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27th - Jun

Physician Advisory Network begins its work

The group of Saskatchewan physicians helping to plan the move to a single health authority for the province has held its first meeting, with a second planned for mid-July.

The Physician Advisory Network is providing advice and will make recommendations on physician services and governance to the team transitioning to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) from the current 12 health regions.

The network met on June 14 in Saskatoon, and is scheduled to meet for a second time on July 19 in Regina. It reports to the transition team through co-leads Dr. Bruce Murray and Dr. Kevin Wasko.

"Dr. Murray and I are excited to work with such an accomplished group of physicians with varied backgrounds and expertise," says Dr. Wasko. "This group will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of medical governance in Saskatchewan."

The first meeting featured a broad discussion on issues such as:

  • The experience of other provinces that have implemented a single health authority, including Alberta, Nova Scotia and B.C.;
  • An update on practitioner staff bylaws;
  • An overview of the role of united heads;
  • Organizational design concepts.

The report of the Saskatchewan Advisory Panel on Health System Structure recommended a single provincial health authority, which the provincial government has endorsed. That report called for physicians to play an active role in the planning, management and governance of the health system. The Physician Advisory Network brings that concept to reality.

The network has six guiding principles:

  • Take a patient-first approach;
  • Maintain a focus on quality and safety;
  • Ensure physician participation;
  • Collaborate with physician stakeholder groups;
  • Maintain open and transparent communication;
  • Respect people and culture.

The SHA is expected to be operational this fall, at which point the Physician Advisory Network will be dissolved. Until then, the network has a number of objectives, according to its terms of reference.

The network will assist in creating a vision for medical governance, physician services and physician involvement in the health-care system. Objectives include seeking expertise and feedback from physicians and patients, and recommending strategies to engage physicians across the province.

The network is to provide advice and recommendations on a medical governance structure within a new health system that supports physicians working in every specialty and discipline in every location in the province. This structure should enable efficient, seamless care to patients.

Other objectives include providing advice on establishing a dyad leadership model, on a credentialing process and local privileges, and on enhancing team-based primary care.

The composition of the Physician Advisory Network reflects medical professionals and specialists from across the province who are at various stages of their careers or hold positions on physician professional organizations. They are:

  • Co-chair: Dr. Bruce Murray, transition team, SMO for Prairie North, pathologist (North Battleford)
  • Co-chair: Dr. Kevin Wasko, transition team, RMA president for Cypress, SMA board member, family physician (Swift Current)
  • Dr. Marilyn Baetz, unified department head for psychiatry (Saskatoon)
  • Dr. Jon Dean, Resident Doctors of Saskatchewan president, internal medicine resident (Saskatoon)
  • Dr. Phillip Fourie, SMO for Sunrise Health Region, former SMA president, family physician (Yorkton)
  • Dr. Haissam Haddad, unified department head of internal medicine, cardiologist (Saskatoon)
  • Dr. Ty Josdal, SMO for Ministry of Health (Regina)
  • Dr. Kathy Lawrence, unified department head of family medicine, family physician (Regina)
  • Dr. Karen Shaw, registrar, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon)
  • Dr. Susan Shaw, SMA staff, chair of HQC Board, anaesthesia/ICU (Saskatoon)
  • Dr. Joanne Sivertson, SMA president, obstetrician/gynecologist (Prince Albert)
  • Dr. Preston Smith, dean College of Medicine (Saskatoon)
  • Dr. Juliet Soper, department head of pediatrics for RQHR (Regina)
  • Dr. Guruswamy Sridhar, SMA and CMA board member, respirologist (Regina)
  • Dr. Janet Tootoosis, board member for the Saskatchewan Health Authority,former SMA board member and SMA lead for primary health care, family physician (North Battleford)
  • Dr. David Torr, MHO for Cypress and Heartland health regions, chair of Council of Medical Health Officers (Regina)
  • Dr. Stephanie Young/ Dr. Direse Coetzee, Co-SMO Mamaweten Churchill River, family physicians (La Ronge) 
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