Another doctor is leaving Saskatchewan to work in a different province and the government of Saskatchewan and its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic are once again being blamed for the move.
Dr. Hassan Masri announced he is moving to Ontario on social media Thursday.
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The Saskatoon doctor said he’s accepted a leadership role out east in addition to his clinical job as an ICU doctor.
On Facebook and Twitter, Masri said he wants to thank everyone who has supported him over the last eight years in Saskatchewan, especially throughout the pandemic.
“Nothing is forever and change is important for our growth. I loved every moment of my life here in Saskatchewan and hope to have given it my all,” Masri wrote on social media.
Masri goes on to say that deciding to move was one of the hardest decisions he’s ever had to make and that he “certainly did lose sleep over it.”
The doctor added that he will continue to practice in Saskatchewan, but on a much smaller and limited scale.
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Masri also had some frustrations with the Saskatchewan health-care system and laid them out in his post as he explained his decision to leave, without mincing words.
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“Many physicians have left this province silently and many more will leave over the next few weeks and months (I will let them announce their own departure),” Masri wrote.
“Never underestimate the frustration that exists with the current visionLESS and suffocating leadership this province has.”
As the pandemic has exacerbated a health-care shortage being felt by the province, health-care experts say many in the industry have been struggling with the high death count from COVID, countless hours of exhausting overtime, and overall strain the ongoing pandemic continues to inflict.
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A recent survey by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) found that since the pandemic started, rates of burnout for physicians have almost doubled.
The survey found that nearly half of Canadian doctors — 46 per cent — are thinking of cutting down their hours within the next 18 months.
It also found that a majority of physicians — 59 per cent — indicated their mental health has worsened since the onset of the pandemic.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health has indicated that from 2018 to 2019, there were 982 active general practitioners in the province.
Fast forward to 2020-2021 and there are only 900 active general practitioners, which is an eight per cent decrease.
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However, it’s not just doctors who are feeling burnout. Statistics Canada found there were 500 nurse vacancies in Saskatchewan in the fourth quarter of 2021.
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The Saskatchewan government announced earlier in the year that it will be spending a record $6.8 billion on health-care in its 2022 to 2023 budget.
Saskatchewan finance minister Donna Harpauer has said the funding will go towards hiring increases and retention of physicians, nurses and paramedics.
Canadian Medical Association President Katharine Smart said while the funding helps, the issue of the province losing health-care workers has grown past being fixed by funding alone.
“More investments in health are very welcome, but it’s important to understand they’re not the entire solution,” Smart stated.
“They also need to change the culture of the health-care system in terms of how it operates.”
“We need to understand what aspects of it are working and aren’t from a structural point of view and what needs to be done to bolster those supports also,” she said.
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