As the hiring process unfolds for the senior management team for the new Saskatchewan Health Authority, the official opposition is raising concerns about who will represent Prince Albert and the three other soon-to-be disbanded health regions in the North.
The Prince Albert Parkland Health Authority will cease to be, along with the other 11 in the province once the new body takes over Dec. 4. The new CEO for the provincial authority, Scott Livingstone, is currently assembling his senior management line-up of 17, which will include teams representing the northern, urban and rural areas.
“There will be a vice-president for northern health services which is good in principle,” Danielle Chartier, the NDP's health critic said. “But this person who ends up in this role needs to be someone who has knowledge and experience of the North; who has the trust and the respect of the people of the North. It can’t be a SaskParty puppet.”
PaNOW reached out to the new Saskatchewan Health Authority as well as the P.A. Parkland region for comment on how the hiring process will work to ensure the right person for the community’s needs is chosen. However, neither wanted to comment while the hiring process is ongoing. That is expected to conclude later in October.
Chartier toured the province including the North when the government initially announced the formation of the single provincial health body and said residents expressed concerns about the quality of representation they’ll have.
“I heard from many people in the North who are concerned about losing their [health care] voice,” she said. “They know what they need but the SaskParty has shown over and over again they aren’t listening.”
She pointed to the Ministry of Advanced Education’s take-over of the northern post secondary programming NORTEP in La Ronge as an example of diminishing resources in the North.
Chartier said once appointed, the new senior manager in the North needs to be accountable and responsive to the community. She added there are serious issues that have been left unaddressed since before the single health authority was announced.
“There are people in the North who, even under the current structure, feel they aren’t being listened to,” she said. “We have a crisis in the North with young people dying through suicide. Mental health and addictions support is imperative and that’s one area where the government has completely dropped the ball.”
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