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Wednesday, 02 March 2016 16:09

Looking for southwest Sask. history

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How many of you out there  are aware that as of July 1, 2016 we should be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Swift Current Health Region No. 1? Have you ever heard of it?
Well it was the birth place of prepaid  health care. The arid land of south west Saskatchewan was where prepaid health care was conceived, nurtured, and thrived. In 1945, the newly-elected Canadian Commonwealth Federation (CCF) government of Tommy C. Douglas enacted legislation, The Health Services Act, which allowed municipalities to co-operate in providing health services to their members.
WJ Bill Burak, the secretary of Pittvill R.M., saw the possibilities, and then with help from the Health Services Planning Commission, Karl Korven of Cabri and Walter Melrose of Maple Creek the health-care plan moved forward. An undertaking of this magnitude could not have come to fruition without the co-operation of Dr. O.M. Erwin, and Dr. Sturitt of Swift Current, Dr. John Mathison of Gull Lake and F. Dawson of Maple Creek. 
At the fall municipal elections in 1945 a vote was held with 71 per cent in favour of the plan. 
In 1952, the Herbert municipality rate payers joined the Swift Current Health Region No. 1 when they found that neighbouring municipalities had prepaid health care.
The Swift Current Health Region was in existence two years before the United Kingdom’s National Health and 16 years before Saskatchewan as a whole had prepaid health care and years before Canada formed the present national plan. 
On July 9, 1993 a plaque was placed in the front entrance of the Swift Current Union Hospital honouring the first board members.  Chairman Karl Korvon, Vice-Chairman Ken Rutherford, board members were: Sam Gill, and M. Haydon of the Leader Zone, G. Gilbertson and J. McNabb of the Shaunavon Zone, H. Allison and Walter Melrose of the Maple Creek Zone, and J. Macleod and E. Mitchell of the Swift Current Zone and Secretary Treasurer Stuart Robertson.  
As it is coming to the 70th anniversary of the region it would be nice to see that plaque placed in a spot where all entering the Cypress Regional Hospital could see it and thank those far-sighted gentlemen for their achievements. 
If anyone has pictures of these gentlemen I would be interested in putting them together in a frame and entitling it The Fathers of Medicare and presenting it to the hospital.
Rob Nisbet, Success, Sask.

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