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Premier Scott Moe addresses federal funding, changes for health care

Premier Scott Moe reiterated his disappointment in the federal government’s offer for additional health care funding, but made it clear that any increase in funding was needed.

“It’s a two per cent lift,” Moe said. “It’s all needed, and we do need to look at how we are delivering health care, and are there better ways in delivering that health care.”

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Moe said he didn’t see anything alarming in terms of the federal government’s priorities regarding health care, saying they aligned with Saskatchewan’s priorities.

He noted that there are many things up in the air in terms of the health care budget, but said the new funding will hopefully be ready by budget deliberations.

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Moe said something he’d like to see and has been trying to navigate through is training local residents to work in the health care system.

“We’ve been increasing those training seats.”

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He said the number one thing they’re trying to address is the number of qualified people working in the field, with the second priority aiming to address surgical wait times.

“Those surgical wait times that we now have are going to take some outside of the box thinking on how we’re going to approach them.”

He said they were looking at publicly-funded surgeries in the private delivery realm, noting there’s a conversation to be had for certain surgeries.

Moe said virtual health care is another tool that is becoming more commonplace.

He added health care is changing, noting programs are different now than they were five years ago.

NDP health critics Vicki Mowat and Matt Love said a different focus is needed, and that Community Health Advisory Networks need to be re-established.

“Local leaders feel shut out of health care decision making,” Mowat said.

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Community Health Advisory Networks existed before local health authorities in the province were amalgamated, but were disbanded.

“It’s pretty clear that centralizing health care decisions out of the premier’s office is failing to deliver reliable, quality care for communities across Saskatchewan.”

Mowat said that’s been a reoccurring message they’ve been receiving as they tour across Saskatchewan speaking to frontline workers and local leaders.

“Local people and community leaders know what their communities need – it’s time to bring those voices back to the table.”

Love said Community Health Advisory Networks would address the needs of local health care with physician-based solutions.

“Decision making must have a local perspective at the table,” Love said.

He said if we don’t listen to local health care workers, the province will continue to see health care workers leaving the province.

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