Health Care workers optimistic about NDP platform

Saskatoon – Members of Service Employees International Union West (SEIU-West) were present as Dwain Lingenfelter and Judy Junor announced the Sask NDP health care platform this morning outside of Primary Health Centre South East in the riding of Saskatoon Eastview.

Highlights of the plan include a focus on community-centered care, additional funding to strengthen emergency room staffing and equipment as well as an investment in physician recruitment.

“We are relieved to see that the NDP platform contains a plan to manage the gaps in rural health care,” said Shelly Banks, Vice-President of SEIU-West. “We see this as a plan that is not only practical, but sustainable.”

The NDP is proposing a Community Access Hospital model that would see an increased role for Nurse Practitioners and a pool of Doctors who would be available to assist as needed. This would allow the existing rural hospitals which have been shut down or have seen disruptions of services to be repurposed with a more diverse health care team and better services.

“This would definitely keep our communities healthy in more ways than one,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “It’s no secret that we support publicly administered, delivered and funded health care, and this plan delivers all of that. In recent years, very little has been done to address critical retention and recruitment issues in too many classifications. It is our hope that this platform will involve a broader perspective of the health care team. Our current provincial government has diverted funding in support of private sector options. This will inevitably increase the cost given the need to protect a profit margin. In the case of Regina health region, data indicates that fewer public sector surgeries have been performed as a result of the work being done in a private surgery center. A better alternative would be to invest in smaller centres across the province to ensure ready access to diagnostic and surgical services as spelled out in the NDP Platform.”

The platform would reinstate chiropractic care coverage, increase funding for midwifery services, speech and occupational therapists, and address programming and equipment for childhood disabilities.

“Rest assured that we will be holding their feet to the fire when it comes to these promises. It’s up to us as the voters and working people of this province that our next provincial government has our best interests at heart when they are making their decisions,” said Banks.

SEIU-West supports the model of ensured access to high quality public sector health care services across the province in both rural and urban centres.

SEIU-West represents over 11,000 health care providers working in four (4) health regions across Saskatchewan. As well, SEIU-West represents employees working in the following sectors: Education, Municipal, Community-Based Organizations and Allied.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator – 306.652.1011 ext. 2250.

Download the PDF of this release: Media Release 20111012 health care platform final

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