Letter to the Premier - Shaun H, Environmental Services (January 2021)
Honourable Premier Scott Moe,
Hi, my name is Shaun. I have been working for the last 17 years as a support service health care worker in Environmental Services at Royal University Hospital (RUH). I am writing this letter in regards to the $400/monthly wage supplement program that was made available to workers in long term care homes and integrated health care facilities across Saskatchewan.
On December 4th, 2017 all 12 health regions across Saskatchewan were amalgamated into one organization called the Saskatchewan Health Authority. This is why I am having a hard time understanding our provincial governments reasoning and justification to make the wage supplement available only to long term care and integrated health care facilities. We are the only province in Canada that isn't getting the wage supplement based on the facility we work in. Why are acute care and mental health care facilities left out? Is it because you believe that long term care homes are more at risk? If so, how is it that long term care homes are more at risk than acute care and mental health care facilities? Presently, long term care homes have absolutely no visitors while acute care facilities have limited visitors. It appears larger gatherings under one roof increases the risk and I’m thinking RUH is the largest hospital in the province. This makes absolutely no sense and is very unfair to other health care workers in this province. Plus this is frustrating, as I thought we were supposed to all be one equal Saskatchewan Health Authority.
I consider myself a frontline worker because as an Environmental Service worker it is my responsibility to make sure that all patient rooms are properly sterile and ready to admit new patients. This whole cleaning process involves wearing all the required PPE for the assigned room, disinfecting all touchable surfaces, washing of the walls, and changing of the curtains. Without housekeeping, which I believe we are being taking for granted, it would be very difficult for the RN's and Doctors to do their jobs because they need clean rooms for every patient that is admitted. On February 21st, 2020 I was granted a new position cleaning patient rooms up on the wards. At this time we did not know that COVID 19 was going to be a pandemic and how it would affect everyone. If I had known that there was going to be a $400/monthly wage supplement only for long term health care workers at the time, then I would have applied for an internal transfer to any long term health care facility in the province. This shouldn't have to be the case in order to receive the wage supplement.
Working through this COVID 19 pandemic has been very overwhelming because of all the extra cleaning that is involved and we are still working short staffed. Cleaning was a lot of work before the pandemic and now it is even more intense than ever before. Every day I go into work with a positive attitude about how I am going to try and keep the patients and staff safe by providing a clean environment. At the end of each and every day I am just exhausted and full of anxiety, hoping that I didn't infect myself and bring it home to my family. I am not just speaking for myself. I am speaking for all health care workers and support services staff including, Environmental Services, Linen Services, Dietary Services, Security Officers, SPD staff, Maintenance staff, Shipping and Receiving staff, Scheduling staff, Administrative Assistants, IT Techs, Unit Clerks, Unit Assistants, Continuing Care Aides, Lab Techs, X-Ray Techs, LPN's, RN's, RPN's and the Paramedics. Everyone that you like to say thank you too! Everyone is working very hard to make sure the hospitals are running safe and efficiently, especially through this pandemic.
I am asking you to please reconsider the $400/monthly wage supplement for all acute care and mental health care facilities. In an effort to achieve fairness, I would prefer that you further consider applying the wage supplement retroactively for those who did not receive it in both Phase 1 (March 16 to September 16) and Phase 2 (October 16 to December 16).