State Hospital and Medical League

Founded in Prince Albert in 1936, the State Hospital and Medical League was a well-organized lobby group dedicated to the establishment of a universal medical and hospital services plan in Saskatchewan. A large number of voluntary and governmental organizations became affiliated with the League, including homemakers clubs, fraternal societies, agricultural organizations, the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, co-operative groups, and municipal governments. In 1941 the League unveiled its Eight-Point Plan of State Medicine for Saskatchewan, which envisaged a medical care system based on group practice clinics staffed by salaried doctors. Vigorous promotion of this Eight-Point Plan led to conflict with organized medicine, which insisted that doctors be paid on a fee-for-service basis. After the CCF came to power in 1944, the League assisted the Douglas government in implementing its health care agenda by sponsoring public meetings for the organization of health regions. Yet in its self-proclaimed role as the “watch-dog of the people,” the League was a vocal critic of government health policy, such as the acceptance of fee-for-service remuneration. The resulting friction alienated the government's supporters in the League and contributed to its declining membership. The League disbanded during the 1950s.

Gordon S. Lawson