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'Years in pain': Residents affected by surgical backlog in Sask. highlighted by NDP

Jolene Van Alstine (Bottom) and her husband Myles (Top) at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building on Nov. 30, 2022. (Wayne Mantyka/CTV News) Jolene Van Alstine (Bottom) and her husband Myles (Top) at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building on Nov. 30, 2022. (Wayne Mantyka/CTV News)

The Saskatchewan NDP called on the provincial government to act on surgical and diagnostic wait times while highlighting one of the thousands of people affected by the issue.

The tens of thousands of Saskatchewan residents suffering due to surgical and diagnostic wait times were the focus at the legislature on Wednesday.

“36,000 Saskatchewan people are waiting for surgery and they’re more than just numbers,” Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck said.

“All of us know someone - our mom or dad, kids, neighbours, relatives - who is not getting surgery and living in pain because of it. Saskatchewan people deserve quality healthcare when they need it.”

One of those affected by the backlog, Jolene Van Alstine, was present at the legislature.

Van Alstine has lived with Parathyroid Hyperplasia for over six years. Suffering from abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure as well as an increased risk of bone fractures, Van Alstine needs care that she hasn’t been able to access.

“She needs to see a specialist, her condition can be treated, but Jolene hasn’t been able to access the care and the treatment she so desperately needs,” Beck said during Question Period.

According to the NDP, Van Alstine has been told she’ll have to wait another two years for a specialist appointment before she can be placed on a surgery wait list.

Everett Hindley, the minister of rural and remote health, told reporters that the government would be looking into Van Alstine’s situation.

“In this specific case we’d want to look at all the details around Jolene’s case in terms of what’s been done with the referral process,” he explained.

“That’s not an avenue that where we interfere with on a political level, but we want to ensure that all the steps have been followed.”

Hindley explained that the government has been working to increase the number of health-care personnel in the province to increase availability for patients.

“That’s why we’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re bringing more health-care workers into the system so we are able to handle more of these cases on a more timely basis,” he said.

“It is very competitive out there. That’s why we put forth a number of incentives.”

To assist in the process, the NDP have called for revenues from high resource prices to be used.

“Sadly, Jolene’s story is not unique. Tens of thousands of people are having to choose between waiting years in pain or paying thousands of dollars for treatment elsewhere,” NDP MLA Vicki Mowat said.

“We urgently need to invest windfall revenues to get more medical specialists to shorten the wait for a diagnosis that is holding many people back from getting the procedures they desperately need.” Top Stories

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