MELFORT — A Melfort family physician has been elected as the president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association.
“The continuing challenges of COVID-19 pandemic are top of mind for myself and for physicians,” said Dr. Eben Strydom, who was elected May 7 for a one-year term. “One of my main priorities will be to continue the advocacy work of the SMA for physicians during these unprecedented times.”
Strydom said the pandemic threatens to strain the healthcare system to its limits, even though more people are getting vaccinated.
“Physicians and health-care workers need resources and supports in place to enable them to do their jobs, for their own safety, the safety of their staff and patients, and the viability of the health system. We can’t let our guard down now,” he said.
“Hopefully by the end of my term the province is in a new place, with a resumption of more normal activities. We all want that. I do too.”
Strydom said rural medicine is one of his priorities. He said every region in the province is different, but they all require a sufficient cohort of physicians to cover clinical work, maintain an ER and have a reasonable call schedule so that they don’t burn out.
“Access to a family physician is a huge concern for residents of rural Saskatchewan,” he said. “Recruiting and retaining physicians to rural communities is an issue across Canada, but the provincial government could make rural practice more attractive through compensation and support services. Our country doctors don’t have to feel isolated or abandoned.”
Strydom moved to Melfort in June 2003. He has served on the Kelsey Trail Regional Medical Association for 16 years, and on the SMA’s Board of Directors, the Section of Family Practice, and the Intersectional Council. He was elected as the SMA’s Honorary Treasurer in 2019-20 and as Vice-President in 2020-21.