A Saskatchewan mother recently had to pay for a healthcare app to see a doctor for her daughter’s infection, and it’s raising concerns about a potentially growing trend of two-tiered healthcare in the province.
While he understands there are unreasonably long wait times for clinics and doctor’s offices, further growing the demand for private healthcare, family physician Dr. Adam Ogieglo says a two-tier shift will only hurt the system and make the problem worse.
“It’s been a problem that’s been brewing for a long time,” said Ogieglo. “And I think heading down the road of increased private options will probably only make things worse, and leave behind those who don’t have the resources to pay for options like that.”
With no family doctors taking new patients in the province and sometimes days-long wait times in emergency rooms, Ogieglo understands people’s frustration.
“I don’t blame patients. I mean, if your kid is in pain and is desperate, and that’s one of your only options other than the emergency room, that’s not the patient’s fault,” Ogieglo told CTV News. “That’s a system problem.”
It’s a problem that NDP health critic Vicki Mowat says needs short and long term solutions.
“Short term, we’ve called for the government to provide an injection of funding for primary care providers to help cover some of these overhead costs,” said Mowat in the Saskatchewan Legislature. “But we know that it is a short-term measure … we need that full system reform.”
Sask. Party minister of rural and remote health Everett Hindley says Saskatchewan isn’t the only province dealing with the pressures of healthcare shortages.
“Every province and territory is faced with this,” said Hindley. “And we’re all trying similar yet somewhat different approaches to how we tackle this challenge that we’re all facing.”
Hindley added that he understands with the growing pressure, the government will need to be open to new ideas to deliver publicly funded healthcare.
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