MEDIA RELEASE: Safe Staffing Levels Should be Top Priority

For Immediate Release: October 2, 2013

Saskatoon – SEIU-West members and leaders are taking the time today to do a comprehensive read of the government’s results of long-term care review. At first glance, it would appear that the government has received a concrete signal from all health regions that they face a similar challenge of maintaining safe staffing levels in this sector. It is obvious that safe, compassionate hands-on care in the long-term care sector requires adequate staffing resources.

“We are relieved that the voices of the many residents in long term care and their health care providers resonated in a number of the health regions.  We see both Heartland and Saskatoon Health Regions have clearly identified the challenges associated with the delivery of hands-on care in safe manner where staffing levels are inadequate. We are hopeful that their openness will lend to real solutions in the form of additional funding. Presently, numerous Health Regions are faced with overwhelming budget deficits so this must be considered” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West.

“SEIU-West members have been dedicated in their efforts to report to us when they are constantly being required to work under unsafe staffing levels and we have attempted to share our information with the health regions, as well as, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Rural and Remote Health,” continued Cape. “It is the goal of our members to provide caring, timely, attention to the residents in their long term care facilities. They just need an increase in staff hours per resident to match the complexity of care requirements.”

SEIU-West will continue to identify problem areas to the health regions and the Ministers in response to membership information received daily.

Cape adds, “We began to take a real look at staffing levels when essential service staffing levels were being put forward by health regions that went way beyond what our members see each work day. Our more recent concerns have been that our government is planning to introduce Summary Offence Ticketing (SOT’s) which includes issuing fines to workers when they fail to meet safety regulations; this becomes a real problem and quite unfair in an industry where safe staffing levels are compromised daily.”

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:

Shawna Colpitts
Phone: 306.652.1011 ext. 2224

For a printable PDF of this Release, click on the link below:

Media Release: Safe Staffing Levels Should be Top Priority

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