“The SaskParty government funding commitment for health care will not put patients first if the halls and rooms of our hospitals, nursing homes and special care facilities do not contain ‘hands on’ care providers,” said SEIU-West President Barbara Cape. “This government is literally taking the ‘hands’ out of the health sector.”
“This budget adds insult to injury, coming on top of our stalled contract talks. It is becoming ever more obvious to our members that SAHO has received license to walk away from the bargaining table based on the direction they receive from this government,” Cape added. “SAHO and this government continue to push an offer at us that contains unacceptable rollbacks, that does not manage market adjustment issues in a comprehensive way, and that does not even address one of our parity issues. This will not address our critical retention and recruitment issues.”
SEIU-West sees the irony with today’s health budget and the recent attendance by the Minister of Health at various Health Quality Council events in support of the ‘Releasing Time to Care’ model of health care delivery in the recent week. This new model is based upon all members of the health care team working together for a common goal.
“How successful can the ‘Releasing Time to Care’ model be, when the funder, our government, and their representative, SAHO, continue to disrespect and devalue the contribution of health care providers,” Cape asked. “The SaskParty government has shown that they value doctors and registered nurses but they have failed to recognize there are many more professional skills involved in the delivery of health care services. Our members are growing ever more frustrated and discouraged with this situation.”
According to SEIU-West, the situation has become worse as Premier Wall and his government have not encouraged or directed SAHO to get back to bargaining, irrespective of the many communications sent from union members. Current health care providers are experiencing critical staff shortage problems and crushing overtime burdens as a result of growing recruitment and retention issues within Saskatchewan.
Many frontline health care providers are very concerned that this will lead to deteriorating conditions in our community hospitals and our nursing homes.