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Saskatoon - A new Viewpoints Research poll suggests Saskatchewan residents are not impressed with the Wall government’s risky decision to invest in for-profit surgical clinics and that opposition to the use of private clinics is growing.

Three of every four residents (75.1 per cent) surveyed want the Saskatchewan government to reduce surgical wait times by expanding and improving public health services, up from 60.4 per cent in a similar poll conducted last year for CUPE Saskatchewan. Only 16.7 per cent of respondents support the government’s decision to use private clinics.

There is growing public demand for the government to expand and improve surgical capacity in the public health system,” said CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham, adding there is little support for private for-profit clinics.

Nearly one half (48.1 per cent) now say the government should not pay for surgeries in for-profit clinics, up from 33.2 per cent in last year’s poll.

The poll found most respondents are critical of the government’s decision to postpone construction of a new public day surgery centre in Regina.  Announced by the former health minister in 2007, plans for the free-standing facility include five operating rooms, a state of the art diagnostic imaging centre and a pre-admission clinic. The centre was scheduled to open in 2011, but the Wall government postponed funding in 2009.

According to the poll, 54.5 per cent of respondents oppose the government’s decision to postpone construction of the day surgery centre, while only 35.8 per cent support it.

Graham said the poll shows Saskatchewan residents want the Wall government to invest in public solutions to wait times in this year’s provincial budget.

There is no better time than this year – the 50th anniversary of Medicare in Saskatchewan– for the government to invest in expanding and improving our public health system,” he said. “Restoring funding for Regina’s public surgery centre would be a good place to start.”

The poll, commissioned by CUPE Saskatchewan, surveyed 604 residents across the province from January 19-25, 2012. The margin of error is ± 4.1 per cent.

For more information, please contact:  

Tom Graham 
President, CUPE Saskatchewan