Medicare in Saskatchewan
proposed the idea of medicare when he first came to power as leader of the
Cooperative Commonweath Federation (CCF), Saskatchewan's first social democratic
government. In 1944, the CCF gained power in Saskatchewan and Premier
Douglas made it his priority to introduce state-sponsored medical care. It
was not until 18 years later that his dream would become reality. Physicians
were adamantly opposed to state-sponsored medical care and delayed the process
considerably. When the government did finally decide to go ahead, many
physicians withdrew services. To take the place of striking physicians,
the government imported doctors from Great Britain.
not all of Saskatchewan's physicians withdrew their services - some were in
favour of medicare. Those that were in favour of the program grouped
together and opened community clinics. Many of these clinics are still in existence
the other physicians did go back to work, finally accepting the medicare program,
although there were some that left the province for good and others that did
not return to practice. Many of the physicians brought as stand-ins
from Great Britain stayed.
of medicare affected the entire population. Some citizens were passionate
about medicare and some were passionate in opposing it. Others who needed
medical care during the famous doctors' strike could not get the care that they
needed. Some hospitals even required patients to sign a release form that
released the hospital of its responsibility should the patient not receive proper
care. Finally, the strike and the beginnings of medicare affected other
health care workers, including the nurses.