About a month ago, we learned from our security officer members that the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) was launching a provincial security review process.
SEIU-West was not notified directly by the SHA.
The review process has been limited to a six day consultation period with front line security officers, and province-wide online survey of health system staff.
The speed of this process, and leading questions contained in the survey suggests that the SHA has a pre-determined outcome in mind: a cost-cutting process to reduce and privatize security services.
Our front line Security Officers who are trained and have experience in a wide variety of incidents that have occurred at Royal University Hospital (RUH), Saskatoon City Hospital (SCH), St. Paul’s Hospital (SPH) and Parkridge Center deserve to have the opportunity to provide more input into this process and we are committed to ensuring their voices are heard.
This review is being led by an out-of-province consultant, Tony Weekes. His work has led to increased use of under-trained private security guards. To our knowledge, there has been no Request for Proposals to seek out independent, non-biased, and experienced consultants with a full appreciation of the vital role played by security professionals in the health care team.
SEIU-West has reached out to the SHA to express our concern and skepticism about the direction of this review. We know that our Security Officers are trained, skilled professionals who are part of a health care team; they not only ensure the safety of our staff but also our patients, clients and residents. From site security for STARS air ambulance, to patrols, safe walks, to observations/interventions of safety risks and threat assessments, they work to ensure a safe care environment.
This is the expertise the SHA should be drawing on. A solution that is based on input from the people who live and work in this province; not a scheme to privatize essential pieces of our health care team.
We will fight back against any proposal to privatize this vital health care service.