July 24, 2024

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NDP Leader Beck hopes for improvements to healthcare, education | saskNOW | Saskatchewan

3 min read

Looking at issues with Education in the province, Beck noted the concerns that teachers have been bringing forward are “certainly concerns that we see and we hear in communities, in North Battleford and Meadow Lake, [and] right across the province, concerns about the lack of supports in schools after 10 years of declining funding and cuts by the Sask Party government.”

On the issue of Healthcare, Beck believes the numbers of healthcare professionals in the Battlefords and Meadow Lake area need to increase.

“We have seen disruptions of service, concerns with staffing,” she said. “A woman in Meadow Lake having to give birth on the side of the road because the care that normally and should be available in Meadow Lake to deliver her baby was simply not available.”

Beck added she’s also heard concerns in the Battlefords about healthcare workers leaving the profession, that 21 per cent of nurses in the province in rural and smaller cities have left under the current government.

“One of the main concerns we’re hearing: [is that] recruitment is important, training seats are important, but if we’re not retaining healthcare workers in this province we will continue to see this problem,” she said.

Tentative agreement reached

Battlefords MLA and Minister for Education Jeremy Cockrill said on the issue of Education, there has been a turning point today as a tentative agreement between the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee and the Teachers’ Bargaining Committee has been reached following recent negotiations.

“We’ve been at the bargaining table for several days this week,” he said. “Just today we came to a tentative agreement. A tentative agreement that the STF have agreed to endorse and recommend. So, I think that’s a really good thing for the students and parents, and teachers in the province, and really a good path forward for education in general.”

Looking at Healthcare in Saskatchewan and the local region, Cockrill said the province has also made forward strides recently in this area too.

“Our Health Human Resources Action Plan has been incredibly successful over the last couple of years, recruiting really hundreds of healthcare workers to the province,” he said.

Cockrill added that the Health Human Resources Action Plan, and specifically the rural and remote recruitments incentive have been “incredibly successful in the Battlefords.”

“The community has benefited more from the incentives in place than any other community in the province,” he said. “Since the Health Human Resources Action Plan has come into place, nearly 100 health-care positions in the Battlefords alone have been filled. That’s a really positive step.”

Cockrill added that only last week the province was at North West College Battlefords campus announcing the expansion of new healthcare training seats.

He noted that Beck “has to come with a plan” to have more healthcare workers in Saskatchewan.

“We haven’t seen a plan from the NDP,” Cockrill said. “Our government has a plan – the Health Human Resouces Action Plan. We’re following that plan, showing some good results. We know there’s more work to do, but we’re confident in our plan.”

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