Health Care in Rural Saskatchewan

Res #: 21-14M
Number: 21
Year: 2014
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Health

WHEREAS there is a decline of health care in rural Saskatchewan; and

WHEREAS the Regional Health Authorities are closing down services in rural Saskatchewan and are moving those services to the cities, and in some instances are refusing to hire doctors that have offered to come to rural Saskatchewan; and

WHEREAS having health facilities in rural Saskatchewan have, in the past, resulted in many lives saved by local doctors stabilizing the patient prior to transfer to larger city center facilities;

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Provincial Government to have these Regional Health Authorities work with the communities in rural Saskatchewan in order to best address the healthcare needs of those in the communities.


The recruitment and retention of physicians is a high priority for our government and we are taking steps to increase the number of physicians working in the province.

Since we formed government in 2007, there are more than 420 additional doctors in the province.  There are also 2,600 more nurses compared with 455 RNs and RPNs leaving the province under the last years of the NDP government.

Our government has established a Physician Recruitment Agency, which is aimed at recruiting and retaining more physicians to Saskatchewan.  The Agency acts as a one­ stop point of contact for physicians seeking to set up practice in Saskatchewan.  It also enhances and co-ordinates recruitment efforts across the province by working closely with health regions and communities to address the need for physicians.

Increasing the number of physicians in Saskatchewan starts at home.  Having an adequate number of health training seats is a key factor in the retention and recruitment of health providers.  Our government has increased the number of physicians being trained to a total of 100 undergraduate and 120 post-graduate medical training seats.

We have invested heavily in medical education and physician recruitment and retention initiatives to meet our physician supply needs.  The Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA) program is a made-in-Saskatchewan  solution that ensures foreign-trained  family physicians are assessed with sufficient rigor so Saskatchewan patients receive safe, high quality care.  SIPPA assesses physicians before they start practicing, which results in greater continuity of patient care and fewer disruptions to communities.  There are currently 145 physicians practicing, or scheduled to practice, in the province as a result of the SIPPA program, with an overall retention rate of91 per cent to date.  Approximately 96 per cent ofthese physicians are practising in rural or regional communities.

We recognize that there is more work to do and we will continue with these efforts to ensure a patient first and sustainable health care system into the future.