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Working together for better health

MLA Warren Michelson's column for the week of Nov. 20, 2019
Moose Jaw North MLA Warren Michelson

The Festival of Trees — an event described as Moose Jaw’s “social event of the year” — is always a special weekend. This year, as always, volunteers and sponsors put on a stunning display to kick off the festive season, enjoyed by our community at the Festival of Trees Gala and the Sunday Brunch. More importantly, the Festival brings together the business community and volunteers to help the Moose Jaw Health Foundation raise funds for new state-of-the-art medical equipment to save lives at our hospital.

No charitable event has raised more funds for healthcare in Moose Jaw than Festival of Trees. Over the last 27 years, this event has raised over $4,000,000. Money raised at this year’s Festival of Trees will go towards bringing the next generation of mammography to our community. Every dollar raised at Festival of Trees will stay in Moose Jaw to help in the early detection of breast cancer.

Good health for the people of Saskatchewan requires everyone doing their part, from each of us making healthy lifestyle choices, to organizations like the Moose Jaw Health Foundation, to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health. The work of the Moose Jaw Health Foundation is a wonderful example of working together for the best health care possible.

Lieutenant Governor Mirasty gave significant attention to health care in the recent Throne Speech. As it should be, there is discussion on health care initiatives during every legislative session. Health care is the biggest expense item in the provincial budget.

In the Throne Speech, it was noted that since 2007 health care funding has more than doubled. Since that time, there are 3,800 more nurses and nearly 900 more doctors practicing across the province. We have opened five new or replacement hospitals, 13 long-term care centres, and funded 20 additional major capital projects. The inadequacies of the old Union Hospital became nothing more than a memory after the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital opened in Moose Jaw in 2015.

Since the Throne Speech, MLAs have approved the investment of $10 million to reduce surgical wait times. Approximately 1,700 additional surgeries will be performed before the end of March 2020. The Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative, introduced in 2010, experienced great success in providing surgical care over a five-year period. Wait times have been increasing again due to additional patients needing surgery, not due to fewer surgeries being performed in Saskatchewan.

To protect the health of our youth, amendments to The Tobacco Control Act were passed unanimously by the Legislative Assembly, allowing the province to move quickly to ensure regulation of vaping and vaping products is in line with existing tobacco legislation.

Your Saskatchewan Party elected representatives at the Legislature will continue to strive for the best possible health care for the people of Saskatchewan.

Thank you to everyone involved in the Moose Jaw Health Foundation and the Festival of Trees for doing their part, and far more, to save lives and bring comfort to patients and their families.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.  

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