Behind the Billboard – Highways or Health Care

The August 2, 2010 edition of the Moosomin World-Spectator contained a story entitled ‘Wawota residents voice frustrations’.  The “Save Our Beds” committee within Wawota has been leading a fight back on bed closures and to improve community health care services.   This effort is similar to the current work being done by the “Concerned Citizens of Wakaw” and the closure of their hospital. The article reports on a fiery public meeting attended by citizens, the “Save Our Beds” committee, representatives of Sun Country Health Region, as well as MLA Dan D’Autremont where he is quoted as saying: “People complained about the highways and now they’re complaining about these beds.  Which do they want, highways or health care?”

This SaskParty MLA should understand that Saskatchewan residents need and deserve both highways and health care. SEIU-West members, our families and communities are growing more and more frustrated with the lack of access to continued quality health care services in rural Saskatchewan.  Disruptions to service are common in most Regional Health Authorities.  Temporary closures occur for weeks, days and in the case of Leader, Saskatchewan, the hospital was temporarily closed for a year.  The SaskParty government provided a 30 to 60 % increase for out-of-scope staff and CEO’s; they have managed the recruitment challenges for the RN’s, yet they have not met with any real success in the retention and recruitment of any other health care classifications.

The citizens of this province deserve their fair share of the prosperity we currently enjoy – and that includes improved highways and better quality healthcare services in both rural and urban centers.

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