The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on every physician in Saskatchewan, and as of last December, a new initiative is providing relief for those areas most in need.
Co-lead by Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Susan Shaw and Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Pandemic, Dr. John Froh, and guided by a team of physicians and administrators, the Physician Deployment program was launched in Saskatchewan last December.
This program, in concert with the Physician Skills Enhancement Program, provides enhanced capacity to address pandemic health care needs and provide relief to physicians around the province in the most affected areas of practice, including Intensive Care Medicine, Emergency Medicine and Hospital Medicine.
If local surge plans and resources are unable to meet the need, physicians from the Physician Deployment program are deployed to areas of greatest need.
Since December 2020, the program has been used to deploy 21 physicians to four communities for up to 14 days at a time to stabilize the physician workforce.
In February 2021, six physicians were deployed to Kindersley and two physicians were deployed to Kamsack as a result of a shortage of local physicians.
“The physicians who deployed to Kindersley were able to provide emergency and hospital services for nearly two weeks,” said Dr. Ivo Radevski, South East Area Chief of Staff. “This ensured that residents of the Kindersely area were able to access the care they needed without having to travel.”
“Having this group of physicians who were willing to pause their own practice to offer their assistance to these communities speaks volumes,” adds Dr. Abdulhamid Eshawesh, Area Chief of Staff, South East.
This program and its guiding principles has helped ensure that the people in these affected communities had access to the care they required.