'They think we are worthless': Saskatoon doctor plans to leave province after Moe rejects COVID-19 measures
A Saskatoon family physician says she’s looking for work outside of the province, citing the government’s lack of implementing COVID-19 restrictions.
Dr. Carla Holinaty was born and raised in Saskatchewan, has been a physician for nine years and began thinking about moving in the late summer.
In a Twitter post Monday, she said “our government has made it clear they think we are worthless.”
“I think this week especially with a second letter coming from our medical health officers that seem to again be completely ignored, that was really the tipping point for me I think,” Holinaty told CTV News.
On Friday, 21 medical health officers (MHO), who all work for the Saskatchewan Health Authority, issued a letter to Health Minister Paul Merriman, asking for additional health measures. It’s the second letter the MHOs have penned to the province.
Premier Scott Moe said Monday he would not bring additional public health measures because it takes away from people’s personal freedoms.
“To watch that just be sort of cast away and rejected outright, it was just so disheartening,” Holinaty said.
Holinaty says she knows other doctors who are also looking for work elsewhere and some who have already left.
Working in family medicine, Holinaty says she sees the impacts of the stretched health care system even though she doesn’t directly work with them.
“We see those patients when they come to us to stress that their surgery has been canceled, we deal with the phone calls from parents who are frantic that their chronically ill kid has now lost access to their therapy,” she said.
“All of the fallout that’s happening is the world that we live in every single day.”
If doctors choose to leave the province, including herself, Holinaty says the loss will be felt by patients.
“Because they’re the people who’ve been feeling the losses from all of the other problems in the healthcare system that we’ve been seeing so far. They’re the people bearing the burden of the system collapsing around us.”
Holinaty says if the province were to take the letter from the medical health officers seriously and implement the measures suggested, she would consider staying.
Dr. Eben Strydom, president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association, says this is the first time he’s heard of physicians wanting to leave the province.
“I think It’s incredibly sad to hear that physicians feel that way under these circumstances where we need every physician, it’s been a long haul,” Strydom told CTV News.
He added that if physicians choose to leave, it could lead to another crisis within the healthcare system.
“It’s certainly something we worry about. Being valued in your work, doesn’t matter what you do, is incredibly important and to feel safe is as important.”