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Question Period (2 November 2006)

Question Period

From Hansard - 2 November 2006

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Supply of Radiologists in Prince Albert

Mr. McMorris: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Dr. Ian Waddell was the last radiologist to leave the Prince Albert Victoria Hospital. In 2003, radiologist Dr. Holly Wells left Prince Albert. At that time Dr. Waddell made his concerns about staffing shortage public in a letter to the editor of the Prince Albert Daily Herald dated November 5, 2003. Mr. Speaker, I need to stress that date — November 5, 2003. That’s three years ago, Mr. Speaker.

This NDP government has sat back as radiologists were experiencing unpleasant working conditions and stressful schedules in the Prince Albert area. Three years ago this government knew of a shortage of radiologists in Prince Albert and did absolutely nothing, Mr. Speaker. And as a consequence, people in the Prince Albert area’s health has been jeopardized. When will he do his job and start attracting radiologists to the Prince Albert area?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: — Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The member opposite indicated that the good doctor had left Prince Albert and I do not believe that was the case — another misrepresentation of the facts in the health system, Mr. Speaker. She has, I believe, left the hospital and gone to work in private practice. Mr. Speaker, she is still doing very good work for patients and people in the province.

Mr. Speaker, there are stresses on the system throughout Saskatchewan, throughout Canada, and the regional health authorities — in which I have complete confidence, Mr. Speaker — are taking actions to provide services that will in fact provide benefit to Saskatchewan people.

Mr. Speaker, there are stresses in the Prince Albert system today. Interim measures have been put in place, Mr. Speaker, while recruiting efforts are continuing. Mr. Speaker, I have confidence that the interim measures will provide assistance . . .

The Speaker: — The member’s time has elapsed.

Mr. McMorris: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday Prince Albert’s chief surgeon, Randy Friesen, said that this is unprecedented for a hospital this size in Canada. He went on to say that his patients’ safety was a concern to him, and I quote, “I’m not prepared to have my patients take these kind of chances.”

Mr. Speaker, somebody’s lives are at risk because this government hasn’t acted in the last three years on the shortage of radiologists in Prince Albert, Mr. Speaker. When will this minister start recruiting radiologists to the Prince Albert area, but health care professionals throughout this province so we don’t see more people leaving the public system to operate in the private system, Mr. Speaker?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: — Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. One week ago this Chamber began its session, Mr. Speaker. And on the morning of Thursday one week ago, Mr. Speaker, we had a representation, the prorogation speech in which we took a look at what’s happening in this fiscal year, Mr. Speaker.

This year’s budget . . . or this year’s Throne Speech, Mr. Speaker, back a year ago, announced a new recruitment agency for the province of Saskatchewan which we funded, implemented, and is now in place.

Mr. Speaker, that Throne Speech indicated greater support for health care in this province. And in the budget in March, Mr. Speaker, for this current year, we have record commitments to financial resources into the health care field. Mr. Speaker, it said we would concentrate on recruitment and retention and we put into place an extra $25 million this year for recruitment and retention.

Mr. Speaker, a year ago we announced intentions and over the years . . .

The Speaker: — The member’s time has elapsed.

Back to 2006 Fall Session

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