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Sask. struggling to recruit and retain specialists, doctor says

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Dr. Ana-Maria Bosonea is the only allergist in Saskatoon seeing children under 12, and now she’s moving to Alberta.

She said part of the reason for the move is her family’s struggle to find childcare for her infant twin boys.

“I think it’s a great place to raise a family, it’s just finding childcare is something that is a deterrent,” she said.

Another factor for Bosonea is the lack of pediatric specialists in the area. She said it’s been an added stressor for her and her colleagues, and worries that if her own children were to get sick, there wouldn’t be enough supports for them.

“My children are thankfully healthy so far, but you never know right, and so from a personal point of view that sucks, but also from a specialist point of view — what do you do for these families?”

The Ministry of Health told CTV News there are 14 pediatrician positions vacant in the province, including four and a half positions at the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon.

Minister of Health Everett Hindley said the province is working to fill those positions.

“It’s my understanding from officials in the SHA, a number of those — I believe over half — are in the process of actually being filled. They have candidates who have applied for the position and they’re working on contract negations,” he said.

Hindley said the province is offering competitive salaries and benefits to recruit specialists.

But the NDP believes more needs to be done.

“The failure of this government to have an effective plan, not an ambitious plan, but an effective plan has meant that we are seeing service closures in communities right across the province,” NDP leader Carla Beck said.

Meanwhile Dr. Bosonea is set to start in Alberta on June 1 and said her current patients can still be referred to her, if needed.

“So I’ll probably still be seeing lots of Saskatchewan patients, I just don’t think it’s fair to the families to have to travel,” she said.

Bosonea said she wants to encourage patients to advocate for themselves and for improvements to the healthcare system. 

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