Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan will not end ER wait times by 2017: Dustin Duncan

Saskatchewan Health Minister Dustin Duncan said a pledge his government made in 2012 to end emergency room wait times won't be kept.

The admission comes on the first day of the fall sitting at the Saskatchewan Legislature

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall on the first day of the fall sitting at the Saskatchewan Legislature. (Trent Peppler/CBC)

Saskatchewan Health Minister Dustin Duncan said a pledge the provincial government made in 2012 to end emergency room wait times in Saskatchewan hospitals won't be kept.

The admission comes after questions from the NDP opposition on Tuesday, which marked the first day of the fall sitting at the Saskatchewan Legislature. It will be the last one before the provincial election in spring, which is set for April 4.

Saskatchewan NDP Leader Cam Broten raised the issue on emergency room wait times:

Premier Brad Wall responded by saying there are 500 more doctors and 2,000 more nurses in the province under the Saskatchewan Party government.

Then the two leaders and Duncan went back and forth:

Saskatchewan Health Minister Dustin Duncan. (Dean Gutheil/CBC)

Following Tuesday's proceedings, Duncan said it was good to set a target, but it likely won't be met.

"To get to zero by 2017 isn't going to happen," Duncan said. "That doesn't mean we're abandoning or walking away the goal to see significant reductions in wait times in the emergency departments."

Duncan said the goal is still to have no one waiting in emergency rooms, but it will now have to revise the timeline for that.

The NDP said after loudly proclaiming the zero wait time promise in 2012, the Wall government tried to quietly dismiss the pledge it made.

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