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NDP blast Sask Party plans for private surgeries

Carla Beck, Vicki Mowat speak on the healthcare surgeries issue outside Saskatoon cabinet office
Carla Beck at leg. June 27
Carla Beck at the legislature in June, when she announced her summer tour.

SASKATOON - The opposition New Democrats have called on the Sask Party government to scrap a proposed private surgery plan.

In speaking outside the Saskatoon cabinet office on Thursday, opposition leader Carla Beck and Health Critic Vicki Mowat blasted the private surgeries plan.

“Scott Moe has cooked up a half baked plan to send Saskatchewan patients and public dollars to other provinces and American style commercial surgery centres,” said Beck. 

“The question that we ask is how is this a long-term solution.” 

She said Saskatchewan wouldn’t compete with other provinces in attracting much needed nurses and doctors. Beck also pointed to comments from head of Saskatchewan’s surgery department, Dr. Ivar Mendez, who has stated the province needs to bolster the public system rather than expand private options. 

The Opposition Leader called on Premier Moe to expand the current operating and diagnostic hours, and incentivize and fund full-time and permanent jobs.

Opposition critic Mowat’s comments zeroed in on Health Minister Paul Merriman.

“The Sask Party Health Minister Paul Merriman is completely MIA,” said Mowat. “He hasn’t shown his face to reporters since May.”

Mowat said they had assembled outside the cabinet offices that day to “figure out where he is and when he will come back to work.”

Mowat also pointed to the epidural shortage, the emergence of Monkeypox, and hospitals being shuttered or bursting at the seams.

“We do all love a great Saskatchewan summer, but the Minister has a job to do. Now is not the time to be radio silent,” said Mowat. She added “I’m so tired of pointing out all the Minister of Health’s prolonged absences, and we’re all sick and tired of a Sask Party government that buries its head in the sand when the going gets tough. The people of Saskatchewan deserve solutions.”