Provincial NDP launch health care survey

Ryan Meili, leader of the Saskatchewan NDP, speaks at a leadership campaign event in Prince Albert on January 11, 2018 (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

On the heels of a provincial health care tour, the opposition NDP is launching a survey where Saskatchewan residents can share their thoughts and concerns about the province’s health care system.

The provincial NDP launched the survey on Wednesday. They said that the need for such a survey did not come out of any particular incident. Instead, it arose from hearing similar stories no matter where they stopped across the province.

“We hear everyday stories from patients who are having trouble accessing health care, whether it’s long waiting lists, long wait times … or not enough staff in long-term care facilities,” leader Ryan Meili told reporters.

“We hear from doctors, nurses, others within the practice of health care who are very frustrated in their experience that they’re not able to give the care that they know their patients need and that they want to be able to give.”

He gave examples such as six-hour waits in the emergency room, patients in long-term care who get little attention because of understaffing and people who want mental health care or addictions services who are told they have to come back in months or that there’s no help at all.

Meili said the survey will help to bring stories together and give patients and providers a way they express their concerns in a safe way.

‘What we hear is a fear of sharing those concerns,” Meili said.

“Patients are afraid that if they complain about the care their loved ones are getting, it might potentially get worse. Health care providers are afraid about losing their jobs, that if they speak up about the challenges they’re seeing, they might not be able to work in health care anymore.”

Meili compared the survey to a recent one his party conducted on education.

“This allows us, in health care, to get the same thing,” he said.

“To get a bit more data to back up the stories and experiences from patients.”

There is no specific timeline on how long the survey will be live. Health critic Vicki Mowat, who hosted the announcement in her constituency office, said the party will start using the responses they get as soon as they come in, but added that they will leave the survey up long enough to hear from both health care providers and people accessing the health care system.

“We’re going to be talking about health care issues the same time this survey is going to be available for people,” Meili said.

“It’s also a great way for people to contact us with their stories so we can bring them forward in the legislature, put the minister on the spot and make sure we get some answers to what’s going on in the health care system.”

The survey asks for feedback from patients and providers on experiences accessing care through the emergency room, mental health, specialists, primary care and long-term care.

It’s available online at  

In a statement provided to Global News, a Saskatchewan Party spokesperson said the government recognizes that wait times are too long and more work needs to be done. It also said that 900 more doctors and 3,8000 more nurses are working in the prince since 2007, and the number of patients waiting more than three months for surgery has decreased by 89 per cent since that time.