Letter to the Premier- Lois Camacho, Home Care Scheduler (July, 2020)

Letter to the Premier- Lois Camacho, Home Care Scheduler (July, 2020)

Answer

Dear Premier Moe,

I have been thinking a lot lately about my job;  you see I have been with health care for many years, 25 of them working at Home Care in Saskatoon. I understand the value of our work in my ongoing communications with clients and their families.  What I don’t understand is the government’s attitude that we are all disposable.

When COVID-19 hit, I really wish you would have been witness to what happened on the front line. If you would have, or at least if one of your Ministers of Health would have experienced firsthand the fear, the anxiety and the terror that the Home Care CCAs and all the office staff felt, it might have changed the way you view health care workers.  

It was and still is one of the biggest reality checks I have ever experienced. I was on the receiving end of the phone because it’s part of my job to help direct the staff, I am a scheduler. I know firsthand how hard it was for the staff in the field. I heard the fear and frustration in the voices of our clients and our home care workers.

Along with my peers, we were the ones trying to be strong and encourage everyone to hang in there. We offered support and leadership they so desperately needed. Now four months later: not one of us has given up or walked away. But it sure feels like you have. You have abandoned us entirely.

Three years plus is long enough without a raise. Imagine putting your job ahead of everything else. Well we did and continue to.  At the same time, you and your Ministers of Health keep spreading the word that investments have increased in health care.  But this is not accurate for home care - since 2014 there has been an 8% decrease in public home care hours within Sask Health Authority.

We have known this all along; your talking points have not convinced us that we are wrong and the SHA data confirms we are correct. We have been saying for so long that it’s like trying to fit a watermelon into a golf ball size hole when there’s not enough staffing to cover the needs.  I want you to know that we are not buying the government’s narrative that you are trying to sell about proper investments in health care…this is proof that  investment is decreasing.

My question is whether the decline is purposeful – just another effort to offload your responsibility and enlarge privatization, or is it because it is difficult to recruit?

I am not sure if you are aware that it’s always easier to recruit and retain skilled quality health care staff when you show them appreciation and value – things like adjusting the mandate that restricts the current contract offer to a fair one would be a great start.

No matter which way you look at this health care workers care about patients, clients and residents; when will you stand up and show us that you care?  

 

Lois Camacho

SEIU-West Member