The Saga of Health Reform: Pat Atkinson Wants Fewer Health Boards and Fully Appointed Boards

By Mario deSantis and reviewed by James deSantis, October 17, 1999


in the early 90's the healthcare expenditures were approximately 33% of the governmental expenditure...
today 40%
The Saskatchewan Vision for Health was introduced in August 1992 to support health reform by
giving the health districts "...the authority to plan, govern and deliver health services...(1)" We
understand now that this government doesn't have a vision of health(2); the Vision for Health was
nothing else but a two dimensional paper vision, that is a subtle cheating expedient by the
government for cutting health care expenditures in rural Saskatchewan. In fact, in the early 90's
the healthcare expenditures were approximately 33% of the governmental expenditures and
today, while we are experiencing a health care crisis, they have increased to approximately 40%(3).
health boards operating as puppets of both the government and SAHO The cheating didn't stop with the cutting of funds for rural Saskatchewan, but escalated with
the establishment of district health boards operating as puppets of both the government(4) and
the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations(5) (6) (SAHO). As a consequence, the
healthcare workers have been abused(7) and a disillusioned public has been receiving diminishing
health care services(8).
record-low turnout in the health election was the result of an alienated and disgusted public Pat Atkinson, Minister of Health, has stated that the number of district health boards should be
reduced in order to lower administrative expenditures and that in light of the recent flop of
district health board elections all board members should be appointed by the government(9).
Pat Atkinson is dead wrong in hastily pursuing the above mentioned changes; first because the
reduction of health districts would not affect any relevant dollar savings(10), and second
because the record-low turnout in the health election was the result of an alienated and
disgusted public(11).
  The fundamental problem of our healthcare system is the suffocating extent of our incompetent
suffocating extent of our incompetent bureaucracy represented by the government bureaucracy represented by the government(12) and SAHO(13) (14). Within the present social
and economic environment, we should successfully strive for a vision of health which is
democratic, decentralized, competitive, consumer oriented and community controlled. Therefore,
Ms. Atkinson's suggestion to have only fully appointed boards would further centralize the
management of health care "... against the economic direct interest of health districts, against
the economic development of rural Saskatchewan, and against the consumers' demands for
  reducing incompetent bureaucracies and related governmental spending..."(15)


Saskatchewan Vision for Health, by Louise Simard, Minister of Health, 1992, Saskatchewan Health, Government of Saskatchewan


The Provincial Auditor, in his 1997 Spring Report, had to remind the Legislature and the public that the Department of "...Health does not have a long-term strategic plan published in one document..."


Do we need further specialised research in Saskatchewan health care? By Mario deSantis, May 20, 1999.


Health boards need to be fixed, SP Opinions, FORUM, The StarPhoenix, October 16, 1999, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


New directions for healthcare labour relations in the 1990s. A report to the Minister of Health, Province of Saskatchewan, May 1993, by Ron Reavley and Dr. Ray Sentes. A quotation from this report: "...Labour Relations in a Wellness Model must emphasize collegiality and shared responsibilities... Power will be shared, not hoarded..."


The following policy directions were expressed at the presentation of the healthcare system architecture held in Regina on January 12, 1995: i)SAHO will absorb Health Services Study Group (HSSG) and will provide payroll services for the healthcare industry, ii)SAHO will be the central authority for information technology and no business should individually contact the health district boards


The Saskatchewan Government and SAHO: Mismanaging Health Care and Blackmailing SUN Nurses, by Mario deSantis, May 9, 1999


A change of mind set is better than a change of strategy, by Mario deSantis, February 15, 1999


Health reform lurks, by Mark Wyatt, The StarPhoenix, October 14, 1999, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


Gov't seeks changes to health boards, by Murray Mandryk, The StarPhoenix, October 15, 1999, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


Saskatchewan Tin Pot Dictatorships : Lack of Integrity is Lack of Leadership, by Mario deSantis, February 7, 1999


The need for a management accounting system to address the current problems of accountability and performance in Saskatchewan Health Reform, by Mario deSantis, June 6, 1995


Never Enough Money For SAHO, by Mario deSantis, March 31, 1999.


Technological Changes In Saskatchewan Health Care: An Abysmal Disaster, by Mario deSantis, May 27, 1999.


Do we need centralized payroll and bigger bureaucracies in healthcare?, by Mario deSantis, February 7, 1995.