The annual Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association Convention and Tradeshow event is almost back for 2023.

According to a release, the gathering helps bring municipal issues to the attention of the provincial government and the public. The association will often take this time to call on the provincial government to address enduring issues among Saskatchewan’s hometowns. This year those topics included costs of landfill decommissioning, and also the hot topic of reduced access to healthcare.

The release also states that Saskatchewan’s hometowns have continuously voiced concerns related to health care, particularly in towns and villages. Last year saw members call for the development and implementation of a long-term recruiting and retention plan to adequately provide and maintain emergent, acute, and long-term health care.

An indirect response saw the implementation of the Health Human Resources Action Plan, and SUMA recognizes those steps taken. Work is being done to recruit and retain health care professionals that will keep Saskatchewan’s hospitals, health centres, and long-term care homes running.

That progress is positive, but more needs to be done as many communities are still experiencing regular service interruptions in both clinic hours and ambulatory care according to SUMA President Randy Goulden.

“While health is a provincial responsibility, hospitals, health centres, and long-term care homes are located in our hometowns - Saskatchewan’s cities, towns, and villages - and they impact the well-being of our residents,” Goulden said, “You should not have to worry about how long it will take for an ambulance to get to you. In an emergency, minutes matter. You also should not have to travel well outside your community to receive basic care when you have a hospital or clinic in your own community, but the doors are shuttered due to lack of staffing.”

As mentioned these problems effect smaller communities the most. The release shared that due to staffing issues, one Saskatchewan community saw their closest ambulance service unavailable for an entire month.

The release went on to state, "SUMA is continuing to call on the province to take immediate action on EMS retention, including increasing on-call rates for paramedics, to encourage people to enter, and stay, in the profession. A review of doctor compensation is also necessary as low fee-for-service rates are driving family doctors out of the profession." 

Watch the full video including the information on landfills with SUMA President Randy Goulden below: