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Closure of Chronic Pain Centre Means Lost Patient Services

Saskatoon (February 26, 2013) – The announcement by Saskatoon Health Region that it will close the Chronic Pain Centre located at Saskatoon City Hospital, represents a significant loss of service for more than one-hundred patients who access this inter-disciplinary program, Health Sciences President Karen Wasylenko said.

“Saskatoon Health Region sprung this decision on the Centre’s employees and patients Monday and, contrary to its public claims, cannot yet tell patients where and how they will be helped with their chronic pain problems after the Centre’s closure in May, and whether the Centre’s specialized health care professionals will be offered positions elsewhere in the Region,” Wasylenko added.

“Saskatoon Health Region claims of a ‘smooth transition’ ring hollow for patients and health care professionals alike, none of whom were consulted about this shocking decision,” Wasylenko noted.

The Chronic Pain Centre provides client-centred, evidence-based assessment, treatment and educational resources for persons with chronic musculoskeletal pain, abdominal pain, neuropathic pain or headaches. The Chronic Pain Centre is Saskatchewan’s sole provider of interdisciplinary treatment for persons with chronic pain.

“The Health Region’s own website speaks of the Centre’s interdisciplinary team approach claiming “…this approach ensures that clients receive all the services they need in a coordinated way, and that the team and client are working towards the same goals. The current research shows this interdisciplinary approach is more effective than unimodal treatment”. The question needs to be asked: why is the Saskatoon Health Region closing down this service, when it clearly is following ‘best practice’ guidelines for treatment of chronic pain? How is this putting the needs of patients first?” Wasylenko asked.

“The closure of the Chronic Pain Centre will see four Health Sciences professionals lose their positions: an Occupational Therapist, a Physical Therapist, an Exercise Therapist and a PhD Psychologist. A registered nurse and an administrator will also be losing their positions,“ Wasylenko reported.

“The Chronic Pain Centre has been funded by SGI, but that corporation served notice three years ago that it would not be renewing their contract with the health region. Unfortunately, the region appears to have done nothing the past three years to search for alternatives that would have kept this important health care service available to the public,” Wasylenko concluded.

For Further Information Contact:

Kate Robinson, Communications
Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan
306-221-6316

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