Media Release: Another blow for Rural Health Care Services in Saskatchewan

For Immediate Release – July 13th, 2012

Wadena / Wynyard –Staff meetings were held in Wadena and Wynyard on Wednesday July 11th to discuss the impacts of the threatened emergency room closures in their facilities. Health region officials were present to explain to the staff the effect of being down 5 of 7 doctors, in part because of the failed Doctor recruitment strategy, by the end of this summer.

 On July 9th, SEIU-West received formal notice of the Health Region’s intent to close the hospital emergency departments in both Wynyard and Wadena. The Notice of Lay-off did not identify any impact to SEIU-West members at this time. However, officials at the July 11th meeting were not optimistic about Emergency room services being viable in either community. Acute care services in Wadena could also be ended by the end of summer.

The Minister of Health did not attend nor did he send a representative from the Ministry to the meeting.  Further consultations among staff and the community are in the works but the health region was clear that there are no bright lights at the end of the current Doctor Shortage tunnel and they are preparing for the worst case scenario.

Barb Cape, President of SEIU-West reports, “SHR has asked that SEIU-West participate in a Working Group made up of staff, community and union representatives. These groups together at one table will work hard to determine the needs of the residents and determine the health care services that should be offered”.

“We see the proposed Working Group as a positive development. Sadly it may be too little too late, as the writing is on the wall for acute care health services in Wadena. The communities and staff are concerned that there is not an effective strategy to provide rural health services and these communities will suffer” offered Cape.

Cape added” We will continue to work with these communities, the Health Region and our members in their efforts to provide necessary health services. Our experience has been that through hard work and collaboration we are much more successful in identifying solutions.”

“We do not want to see our members forced to leave their community to find alternate work or residents forced to leave their community to access vital health care services. It is time for the Minister of Health to step up and give rural Saskatchewan a plan for Health Care” said Treasurer Janice Platzke who has experienced reduced services as a result of a failure to recruit physicians in her own Cypress Health Region.  “Our communities deserve better and they need a Health Care strategy that works”.

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.

 For more information, contact:

Kelly Harrington

Deputy Director, Political Action & Education Department

306.652.1011 ext. 2225 or cell 306-227-2614

Click on the link below for a printable PDF version of this release:

Another Blow for Rural Health Care Services in Saskatchewan



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