Sask Loses Over Half its New Doctors

Posted on Thursday 20 January 2011

In 2010, Saskatchewan lost over half of its local medical graduates, 33 of 59 left the province, the worst retention rate in Canada!

Saskatchewan loses more of its local medical graduates than any other province, leading to over 1/3 of its residency spots being left vacant.  This may be in part to Saskatchewan paying its resident physicians the third lowest in the country, ahead of only Quebec and Newfoundland.  This despite the Sask Party government’s stated goal to “recruit and retain its local medical graduates”.  In fact, the government of Saskatchewan refused to offer anything to its resident physicians for 23 months, and when it did, it was a “final” offer, with no retroactivity for graduates of the past 23 months (when the government refused to negotiate).  This final offer, would Saskatchewan residents the 4 th lowest paid, below the Canadian average for resident docs.  In fact, this offer put them ahead of only BC, Newfoundland and Quebec, and still well under the Canadian average.

Now, it seems, if the government of Saskatchewan was serious about keeping local doctors, they could at least afford to pay them the Canadian average.  After all, starting at about $10 an hour for their 80 hour weeks, its not like these resident docs are that highly paid, in fact, the resident docs are the lowest paid employee in the hospital (per hour), below even the Starbuck’s employees.

I see two possibilities,

1. Saskatchewan isn’t really “booming” and the government is just hype

2. The Saskatchewan Party is all about good sound bites, when it comes to recruitment and retention, but really doesn’t care about training local doctors.  Pretty telling as to why Saskatchewan has the fewest doctors per capita in all of Canada…

Solution?  Pay resident docs, all 300 of them, enough that medical students want to stay here to be resident doctors.  After all, Saskatchewan says they are “booming”.  Surely the government can afford to match Manitoba, New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia? If not Alberta and Ontario?  ALL of which pay more than the government’s most generous offer to its residents!  Otherwise, why wouldn’t they leave to make $7,000 more annually in Manitoba and $12, 000 more annually in Alberta?  Especially when the provincial government is bragging about retention efforts, but refuses to talk to resident docs for nearly 2 years, and even then, refuses to offer them the average Canadian wage, or match the Maritimes!

3 Comments for 'Sask Loses Over Half its New Doctors'

    a resident
    January 20, 2011 | 5:01 pm
    January 21, 2011 | 1:00 am

    Northern Sask apparently has less doctors than Nunavat!

    Doctor crisis? For sure – but when the Sask Party can’t match Nunavat, maybe Saskatchewan is the problem, not the doctors.

    February 15, 2011 | 1:36 am

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