Media Release: SEIU-West Members Target Safe Staffing Levels

September 10, 2012 For Immediate Release

Saskatoon – SEIU-West members employed in the Saskatoon Health Region (SHR) are concerned that the ‘same old strategy’ is being used by the health region to slash their deficit.

“SHR uses the term ‘vacancy management’,” says Judy Denniss a Licensed Practical Nurse within SHR. “But what this means in the real world experience is that they keep much needed positions vacant which results in hospitals and nursing homes working short staffed on a regular basis. This does not align with the pledge SHR made to have the right person at the right time, to provide the right service to the client, patient or resident.”

SEIU members who work as part of the health care team want to improve the quality of publicly-delivered health care services and reduce waiting times through the design and use of efficient and timely processes, not through the reduction or elimination of those services.

“Our members perform a valued and proud service to clients, patients and residents in this region,” states Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “We have been consistent in our identification of the problems, including real life examples, of inadequate staffing levels and unsafe workloads which ultimately impact the quality of care provided to the people of Saskatchewan.”

The latest 2011 stats from the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) indicate that there are 5,060 reported injuries in the healthcare system. 1,800 of these injuries are incurred by staff who are involved in ‘Assisting Occupations’, which includes the lift, transfer and repositioning of patients, clients and residents. In 2011 alone, 504 back injuries and 214 shoulder injuries were reported.

“SEIU-West has received more than 400 examples of shifts worked by our members with insufficient staffing levels in SHR this year alone. Cutting staffing levels magnifies the problem of injuries and lost time in the sector,” continued Cape. “It is clear that deficit reduction cannot and should not come at the expense of the safety of the staff or the patients, clients and residents.”

SEIU-West acknowledges the difficulty in recruiting and retaining skilled and experienced healthcare professional and has stepped up its own efforts to attract people to work in health care, including attending career fairs.

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

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator

Phone: 306.652.1011 ext. 2250

 

For a PDF version of this release, click on the link below:

Media Release: SEIU-West Members Target Safe Staffing Levels

 

 

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