Regina hospitals may stop treating critically ill children, opposition fears
Critically ill children in southern Saskatchewan may no longer be treated in Regina hospitals according to a plan under consideration by the health region.
"Pediatric intensive care is a specialty service," Val Davies, executive director of cardiosciences and critical care for the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, wrote in a memo to staff April 16.
According to the memo, the region is looking at changes that would lead to some children receiving care in Saskatoon.
The memo did not say how many cases would likely end up being transferred to Saskatoon, but suggested the move would result in children receiving better care.
The memo said transfers were already taking place and were becoming more common, noting that more critically ill children have been sent to Saskatoon and they "benefited from the specialized care."
But the Opposition NDP are concerned about having sick children moved further away from their families.
"I think geography is really important," NDP leader Cam Broten said Tuesday. "Being close to your sick child while having the best possible support system is really important and we've seen good care here in Regina."
Saskatchewan’s minister of health, Dustin Duncan, said no final decisions have been made and none are expected until later this spring or summer.
Duncan said if children would get better care in Saskatoon, he will support the changes.
"If your child is the most critically ill patient I would certainly hope that they are in the hospital that can provide the best quality level of care." Duncan said. "In many cases, even right now, that ... is in Saskatoon."
While no decisions have been made, the memo from Davies thanks staff for their dedication to pediatric intensive care, adding the move "is in no way a reflection of your ability to care for the pediatric patient."
Keith Dewar, CEO of the health region, said Tuesday the hospitals in Regina are lacking when it comes to providing the best possible care and that is why officials are looking at sending patients elsewhere.
"If we can't, and currently we can not, ensure that we have those types of supports — those sub-specialty supports — in place to do that, then we're very uncomfortable not looking at this," Dewar said.
Dewar also repeated the health minister's observation that families would be happy to travel out of Regina to get top-notch care.
"I'm not aware of any family that wouldn't be comfortable in saying, 'Well I'd prefer to travel to ensure that those supports are there, then to potentially put my child or family member at risk,'" he said.
With files from CBC's Stefani Langenegger