Podiatry funding cuts could lead to amputations: NDP

By Britton Gray/CJME News Staff
June 16, 2017 - 10:42am
Dr. Ata Stationwala (centre) and NDP health critic Danielle Chartier (right) speak to media on June 15, 2017, asking the government to reverse funding cuts to podiatry services.
Dr. Ata Stationwala (centre) and NDP health critic Danielle Chartier (right) speak to media on June 15, 2017, asking the government to reverse funding cuts to podiatry services. Britton Gray/CJME News Staff

Saskatchewan's NDP and podiatrists have called on the government to reverse another one of its decisions to cut funding.

The government is cutting $1.2 million in funding to podiatry services across the province.

Dr. Ata Stationwala, president of the Saskatchewan College of Podiatrists, said these cuts could increase double, perhaps triple, the costs for patients.

“I see it as a short-sighted cut, I don't see it as savings. In the end, this $1.2 million with patients not being able to see us will end up going into emergency rooms, family physician visits. Those are not going to be the ideal places for people to receive the care they need,” Stationwala said.

He said if a patient doesn't get proper treatment they can end up in hospital and it can lead to limb loss.

Adam Katz was a podiatrist at Regina's General Hospital. He lost his job due to the decrease in funding from the government.

He said the people this is going to affect are the patients in rural areas and First Nations individuals.

“(They) just won't be able to afford the care in a private setting.”

Despite only losing his job about a month-and-a-half ago, Katz has already heard from former patients who have been affected.

“Unfortunately, amputations have occurred, not limbs but toes. At this point it's only been a month-and-a-half,” Katz said.

Josephine Mackow from Moose Jaw has been seeing Dr. Stationwala every six weeks for work.

The 82-year-old said if her rates increase, she won't be able to visit as often as she needs to.

“To not go as often or whatever and that could, in fact, save my infections or whatever I get,” Mackow said.

The Saskatchewan government said low-income clients will get the option to bill Supplementary Health and Family Health Benefits for the cost of treatment.

Fourteen podiatrists provide services in nine private practices across the province and about 4 podiatrists provide services in health authority clinics.

Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut provide no funding for podiatry services.

 

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