Saskatchewan

Private-pay CT scans, administrative health care cuts among Sask. Party's pledges

In its most recent campaign promise, the Saskatchewan Party says it wants to reduce the wait times for people who need a CT scan in the province.

Brad Wall promises to cut $7.5 million in health region administrative positions, costs

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is seen at a news conference in Regina on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. (Mark Taylor/Canadian Press)

In its most recent campaign promise, the Saskatchewan Party says it wants to reduce the wait times for people who need a CT scan in the province.

Leader Brad Wall said that if his party is re-elected, people will be allowed to pay privately for the scans.

The pay-per-use model would use the same model as what the party calls a "two-for-one" system that's currently in place for MRI scans: for every scan paid for privately, the clinic offering the CT scan would be required to provide a second scan at no charge to a patient waiting for a scan on the public list.

Wall's plan is 'pay or you wait': Broten

"I don't agree with the approach," NDP leader Cam Broten said Thursday when asked about Wall's campaign promise regarding CT scans. "What Mr. Wall is suggesting is that either you pay or you wait."

NDP leader Cam Broten speaking to supporters at a campaign event in Saskatoon Thursday. (CBC)
Broten said it was similar to the model currently used for MRIs, a system which Broten said has privatized what should be a publicly provided service.

Broten added that he believes improvements need to be made when it comes to waiting times for diagnostic testing, but he would go about it differently. He noted that some physicians have said additional scans could be done by finding efficiencies in the existing system.

"That should be the focus," Broten said. "I'm not satisfied with the status quo when it comes to diagnostic scans. We need to do better. But I want to make it better for everyone, not just those individuals who either have the deepest pockets or put it on their credit card to get care."

Wall suggests fewer administrators in health regions

Wall also said that if re-elected, his party would cut administrative positions and costs in provincial health regions by $7.5 million. Savings from those cuts, he said, would go toward front-line care in long-term care facilities. 

"We have opened 15 new long-term care facilities in Saskatchewan since we were first elected, but there is more to be done to ensure seniors receive the care they deserve," Wall said in a press release.

"By reducing administrative costs and directing those savings to front-line care, we will make our long-term care centres even better for our seniors who reside in them."

"We are proud of our record in health care but we know there is more that needs to be done," Wall said. 

Broten and the NDP have also campaigned on reducing the size of health care administration, to make room for more frontline jobs. 

During the announcement, Wall also promised to commit $500,000 to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and another $500,000 to improving robotic health technology in northern Saskatchewan.

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