While the situation has improved, healthcare services are still not ideal at the Preeceville Hospital.
A delegate from the area raised a question about the hospital at the bear pit session with the premier and cabinet ministers this week at the SUMA convention in Regina.
In May 2016, a shortage of doctors forced the closure of the acute care and emergency services in the brand new facility in the community north of Yorkton.
The community rallied at the legislature and received a promise from the former premier that services would eventually be restored.
There are now three physicians working in the community and while services are not fully restored, Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit maintained it is the best number the town has seen in years.
“We’ve expanded the emergency services to 12-hours a day there with support from EMS services when the need arises, so the services have greatly increased,” Ottenbreit explained.
Six of the 10 acute and emergency beds which were lost are now being used for long-term or respite care, the other four are considered flex and are used in whatever capacity is needed.
But Ottenbreit admits it is unlikely that the situation will change at least for now.
“As you’d expect the community would like 24/7 emergency and 24/7 acute services although we do need the professional supports to supply that, and with the three doctors in place and one is unable to do those acute care and emergency services, it is very difficult to provide that,” Ottenbreit said. “Keeping in mind that for 24/7 acute care they’ve got to man those beds 24/7, so if they aren’t able to provide those services then for overnight acute care services patients are transferred to Canora.”
Ottenbreit contends the government will continue to work with the community and the new Saskatchewan Health Authority is aware of the situation.
The NDP argues the government has failed the community on this issue.
“They had something that the minister and the premier had committed to carrying on and they don’t have it now,” health critic Danielle Chartier maintained. “In rural Saskatchewan when it comes to health care people are frustrated and not feeling like this government and this minister is delivering what they need.”