Legislative Report (29 November 2006)
29 November 2006
NDP Government Failing People Living With Diabetes
The NDP government is falling far short of recommendations made by the Saskatchewan Advocacy Committee on Diabetes when it comes to providing specialists to treat and work with people living with this disease. Six years ago, the committee recommended that the province required eight adult endocrinologists by 2004 to serve the 50,000 people with diabetes in Saskatchewan. At that time, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons said that the province needed one endocrinologist per 80,000 people, which would put the total number of specialist required at 12.
Fast forward to 2006. In May, the Saskatoon Health Region (the largest one in the province) lost its last full-time endocrinologist. Dr. Tammy McNab sought work elsewhere because she didn’t want to be the only doctor responsible for thousands of patients. In other words, she was overwhelmed and overworked. She was also extremely frustrated by the recruitment process which she said moved at a snail’s pace. After she left, Saskatoon had no endocrinologists. Six months later, Dr. McNab has finally been replaced, bringing the number of endocrinologists in the province to three. That means there is one endocrinologist per 328,500 people. It is clear the NDP government has fallen far short of what is needed when it comes to care for people with diabetes.
Diabetes is a complex disease that can be extremely difficult to manage. Endocrinologists provide important guidance to their patients. These doctors are specially trained to understand Diabetes and the complications it may cause. An endocrinologist is an important link in the team based approach to managing this chronic disease.
Saskatchewan is home to a significant number of people living with diabetes – approximately 50,000 people, with 3,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Type 2 Diabetes is also an epidemic in many of our First Nations communities. The Saskatchewan Party is concerned that if no other endocrinologists are hired, the three endocrinologists we currently have will burn out just like Dr. McNab did earlier this year and be forced to leave. It is clear the NDP government has missed the mark when it comes to recruiting specialists vital to those living with Diabetes.
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