Town hall meeting helps spread word

Saskatoon Health Region has committed to keeping Wakaw Hospital open as an inpatient facility. This was the message delivered by Shan Landry, Vice President of Community Services for the Region at a town hall meeting in the community on Tuesday, January 25.

“It is our intention to keep Wakaw Hospital open, to keep accepting inpatients and to deliver the finest health care possible to residents and surrounding communities,” says Landry. “Our eye remains firmly on that goal and we have never lost sight of it.”

Vice President of Community Services, Shan Landry (at podium) addresses the community at the Wakaw Recreation Centre on January 25 regarding the future of Wakaw Hospital.

Any tension in the room of 250-strong Wakaw area residents quickly dissipated as Landry and Wakaw Town Administrator Rick Kindrachuk went through a highly detailed presentation on the steps taken by the joint committee made up of the Health Region, the Town of Wakaw and area rural municipalities to find physicians.
“We take this work very seriously,” says Kindrachuk. “We are working closely with Saskatoon Health Region to ensure that the health of Wakaw and area residents remains a priority.”

Kindrachuk highlighted some of the incentives offered to physicians willing to move: everything from financial incentives to rent-free housing and a car allowance. He explained that they are trying everything they can think of to recruit a permanent doctor to the town.

For her part, Landry acknowledged the fear of losing the hospital for even a short-term, pledging that the Region will do everything possible to avoid that fate. However, she reminded those attending the meeting that without a physician, Wakaw Hospital could no longer accept inpatients. Landry says in that event, the facility will remain open and health services will still be provided.

“We are working with staff to see exactly what that may look like, it is still much too early to determine,” says Landry. “I can say that Saskatoon Health Region pledges open communication with staff and the community to ensure that everyone is aware of how the situation is progressing. When we know something, you will know something.”

In the short term, the Region has secured the services of two nurse practitioners and a locum physician for Wakaw Hospital. The locum will practice in the community until March 31, giving the recruitment team more time to find a physician.