Building Capacity or Cutting Budgets?

Saskatoon – Representatives of Service Employees International Union (SEIU-West) his conference was attended by leadership and member representatives who work in the Medical Imaging and Laboratory Services departments within Saskatoon Health Region. The information shared was intended to increase public awareness, and to clarify that the recent public comments made by Health Minister, Don McMorris, are not reflective of the experience of our members employed in these departments.

“I work as a Technologist in the Saskatoon Health Region, and I want the public to know that we are now seeing the negative effects of the last provincial budget, specific to Saskatoon Health Region, said Darrel Schneider, Medical Radiation Technologist III (MRT). “We are seeing significant cuts within general operations. Specific to Medical Imaging, we are currently facing a deficit. In the Saskatoon Health Region we have the infrastructure – the equipment, the expertise and the capacity to do more CT scans. All we are lacking is adequate funding from the government to do those exams. However, we see the government willing to pay a private for-profit provider to do CT scanning. If this same funding was given to the Health Regions, there would be no need for those exams to be done outside of the acute care sector.”

“Plain and simple — the SaskParty Health Minister’s words do not match his government’s actions,” said SEIUWest President Barbara Cape. “We do not see the 2010-11 budget as the government working to build capacity within the public health system. Members of the public needs to know that while government is investing in the exploration of private for-profit options, they are at the same time, cutting funds to the public sector in what they like to claim as efficiency targets.”

Jolisa Shyluk, Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT) added: “Presently, we have a ‘posting’ freeze within Laboratory Services. This means that MLT vacancies remain unfilled and we often work facing staff shortages.

Our collective experience in the workplace, as a result of budget reductions, is not a model of efficiency by any means. This is not good news for patients, employees or taxpayers.”

“Given the population growth, our members recognize that service pressures exist in health care,” Cape concluded. “What we require is adequate funding from the SaskParty government in order to ensure patient needs are met. Currently, we have the potential capacity – yet we lack the affordability on a day-to-day basis to provide the service”.

SEIU-West represents approximately eleven thousand health care providers across the province. They include special care aides, licensed practical nurses, diagnostic and therapeutic technologists, food services workers, laundry, housekeeping and activity personnel, maintenance, sterile processing workers, operating room technologists, maintenance personnel, and administrative and clerical staff, among others.

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CONTACT:

Barbara Cape, President SEIU-West – (306) 631-4713

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