Letter to the Editor: SEIU-West Concerned by health region’s approach to filling nursing needs at Shaunavon Hospital

The following Letter to the Editor appeared in the Shaunavon Standard on July 5, 2011 as well as the Prairie Post on July 8, 2011.

I read the Prairie Post online article “Nursing Shortage causing lots of issues for Shaunavon” (also in this week’s edition of The Shaunavon Standard) with a great deal of shock and concern. I’m not sure if the residents of Shaunavon and area realize that there are healthcare providers right in their community who have offered their skills and services as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to the Cypress Health Region – only to be told to ‘wait until August’.

Unfortunately, the health care crisis in this province has chosen to land on Shaunavon and area and it is RIGHT NOW! And despite the availability of a LPN in this community – one who indicated her interest and readiness to work back in February, the Cypress Health Region is reducing hours of service for you and your family, and your neighbors. The Region indicates efforts have been made to recruit from outside nursing agencies – but they neglect to even consider the resources right in their own back yard.

Shaunavon and area residents deserve better health services from the Cypress Health Region. They will continue to suffer from a lack of emergency services as a result of poor planning for the impending nurse shortage. In the article, Ms. Illebrun, CHR Executive Director of Health Services indicates they are looking creative strategies such as nursing agencies…how about looking at some tried and true methods, like keeping your retiring staff as casuals? They are well trained and already oriented to the facility. The Health Region has indicated that a component of their CHESS program makes retiring staff, who are still willing to work, absent themselves from the workplace for 6 months. Except the shortage is RIGHT NOW! I do not understand this strategy if the ultimate goal is to maintain the delivery of quality health care services in this community.

I would ask: if the Regions most immediate issue is a temporary LPN, then why have they not called an available LPN in Shaunavon since March? Does this make any sense to anyone in Shaunavon? It seems like another budget reduction by cutting much needed services. The Shaunavon Hospital is yet another casualty in the ongoing health care crisis. I share the worry of those who live and work in this community – how does the Health Region expect folks to plan their emergency?

Barbara Cape
President, SEIU-West

Did you like this? Share it:

Comments are closed.