May 24, 2018
Think back to when you first started practicing medicine in Saskatchewan. There is a very high chance you received a set of Medical Staff or Practitioner Staff Bylaws. I know I did. It was a small but thick booklet with a yellow cover. Inside were pages of definitions and processes, all in very small font. I remember quickly skimming the bylaws, signing an agreement to abide by them, and then putting the book on a shelf in my home office.
Five years later, I picked up that same copy and actually read it after my appointment as head of the Department of Adult Critical Care in the former Saskatoon Health Region. The bylaws were by no means a compelling page-turner, but I was grateful to have a playbook at my disposal that mapped out fair and equitable expectations and processes for me and my department members.
Most people cringe when they hear about a bylaw issue. The first thing that comes to mind is often related to a disciplinary matter. While the bylaws do speak to matters of discipline, they support us in so many more ways. The
interim Practitioner Staff Bylaws define and describe the relationship between the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and its practitioners, which include physicians, dentists, chiropractors, nurse practitioners and midwives who have been granted privileges to work within the SHA. The bylaws are the terms and conditions that create transparency and consistency within our profession. They map out how a new practitioner seeks membership, is granted privileges and is expected to behave, as well as the processes and steps to be followed should a quality of care or disciplinary action need to be considered.
The bylaws also define the responsibilities, as well as the administrative and leadership structure, of practitioner staff leaders, such as the Chief Medical Officer, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Area Chiefs of Staff, Provincial Department Heads, and Area Department and Division Leads.
In the months leading up to amalgamation, the Transition Team received a strong recommendation from our Alberta neighbours to have new bylaws in place and ready to use on day one of the SHA. Luckily, a small group from the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA), the Ministry of Health and the former Regional Health Authorities had been working on an update. The Minister of Health, as per the Provincial Health Authority Act, finalized the initial set of bylaws that we now have in place. The bylaws contain a provision that allows them to be continuously reviewed, revised and improved through a Bylaws and Rules Review Committee. This committee is currently hard at work to bring an improved version for consideration to the SHA Board by the end of this year.
This is where we need your help. These are your bylaws too. You may not think about the bylaws often (or at all), but they govern your work within the SHA. They support the relationship between you and the rest of your team as you work to create high-quality care for all of our patients. They describe the roles and responsibilities of your medical leaders. You will likely want to know what is expected of you in the bylaws so you can better understand how they govern your work.
here to download the current set of bylaws. Please read them and provide your thoughts and ideas for improvements to me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. All your comments are appreciated and will be considered.
Dr. Susan Shaw Chief Medical Officer