FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 18, 2013
Saskatoon – SEIU-West members who work in long-term care facilities in Saskatchewan are frustrated by the comments made by Health Minister Dustin Duncan in an online CBC article that claims that the government has “significantly increased the full-time complement of workers within long-term care”.
“I have no idea why the Minister is making this statement,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “In our members’ experience this does not accurately reflect the reality in long-term care. Very recently we identified to the Saskatoon Health Region (SHR) the situation at Saskatoon Convalescent Home where our members have told us they work short constantly because there aren’t enough care providers to do the work that needs to be done.”
“This problem is not unique to SHR. Many of our members from long-term care facilities in other Health Regions continue to report back, through the use of workload tracking forms, just how often and why they are working short staffed,” continued Cape. “We have attempted to share this information with the Regional Health Authorities and the Minister. As of yet we have not had satisfactory responses nor any solid steps on how to move forward to improve staffing levels.”
When the results of the government’s long-term care review were released in October, SEIU-West members and leaders were hopeful that the government had finally received a concrete signal that maintaining safe staffing levels in this sector is a challenge that needs to be addressed immediately.
“We are not aware of any long-term care facility where they have enough staff to handle all the day-to-day care needs of the residents. We’d like the Minister to show us where the 700 full-time positions were created,” continued Cape. “The goal of our membership, in this sector, is to provide professional, timely care to the residents who live in long term care facilities. We need an increase in staff hours per resident to match the complexity of care requirements and to share the workload. The current situation is not healthy for the residents and the workers who grapple with this issue daily.”
SEIU-West represents approximately eleven thousand health care providers in the province of Saskatchewan. They include Continuing Care Assistants, 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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