GORDON S. LAWSON
Volume 26:2 2009
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that the universal medical services plan introduced in Saskatchewan in 1962 was not what the CCF had intended when it first came to power in 1944. In his classic study of the Saskatchewan CCF, Seymour Martin Lipset states that the “party leaders originally envisaged a medical system in which all doctors would work on a salaried basis….”
Frequently based on Lipset’s work, subsequent historical accounts of the establishment of Saskatchewan and Canadian Medicare often cite a Saskatchewan CCF commitment to a salaried medical service. The 1962 doctors’ strike has also overshadowed what existing historical accounts of the step-by-step development of Saskatchewan Medicare from 1944-62 indicate was a less dramatic, but equally formative, conflict concerning physician remuneration in 1945. In early 1945 the government’s Health Services Planning Commission (HSPC) devised a medical services plan for rural Saskatchewan that envisaged the expansion and development of the existing municipal doctor system into a salaried general practitioner service. Existing accounts maintain that Premier Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas (1904-1986) and his cabinet considered implementing the HSPC proposals despite the opposition of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan (SCPS), but in negotiations during 1945 Douglas, in C. David Naylor’s words, “gave way” to the medical profession.
This article seeks to determine why the Douglas government did not follow the HSPC 1945 recommendations for a salaried medical scheme.
Read article HERE.