Letter to the Premier - Barb Cape, President (April, 2020)
Good afternoon Mr. Premier,
I hope you are doing well during the COVID-19 pandemic as we all navigate these new and unprecedented times.
I would like to identify who the “others”, as you refer to them in previous media events, are who are working in healthcare beyond the doctors and nurses. I would respectfully request that you consider their incredible contributions and sacrifices to bending/flattening the curve of the cases of COVID-19 in this pandemic. There is an incredibly diverse group of people who are keeping health care running and ensuring that we are not overwhelmed by the pandemic.
- Medical and Diagnostic Technologists and assistants complete tests that identify not only COVID-19 but other diseases and pathogens that are still affecting our population: cancer, HIV, MRI, CT, and seasonal flu are among their tests.
- Licensed Practical Nurses provide dressing changes, dispense medications, work in operating rooms and emergency rooms, long-term care and home care to provide compassionate hands-on skilled care to our patients, clients and residents.
- Continuing Care Assistants work in acute care, long term care and home care providing hands on services like dressing, bathing, medications, lifting and repositioning with care and compassion.
- Security, maintenance and tradespeople continue to keep our facilities running efficiently, to set up COVID units in hospitals across the province and keeping staff and patients safe.
- Food services prepare and provide nutritious meals to patients, long-term care residents and homecare recipients.
- Environmental services staff perform enhanced cleaning to ensure that our facilities do not harbor and are not a vector for transmission of any virus.
- Administration staff keep every part of the health system connected and communicating – this includes acute care, long-term care, home care, community care and other primary care ward and department support, payroll, finance, and schedulers who ensure that our facilities are staffed & paid properly to provide the skilled professional care that is key to all health care services.
- Of particular note are those working in supply chain, materials management, and sterile processing who ensure that we have the health care materials and resources, such as PPE equipment and supplies, necessary to keep us all safe and to provide quality healthcare that Saskatchewan residents have come to expect.
This is only a representative sample of the ‘other’ that you refer to…there are many more particular jobs that cover tens of thousands of health care provider workers. We are proud to acknowledge that there are over 35,000 frontline staff who are part of the ‘health care team’…across various unions.
SEIU-West is very proud of the work that members perform every day and I believe we are heroes not only during this pandemic, but every day of the year.
On behalf of these professionals, I ask that you take a moment to acknowledge the varied work that is being performed under some incredibly tense and stressful circumstances. They go into work every day, not sure if they will come into contact with COVID-19 or if they will take it home with them to their families. They are the people your government asked to take a 3.5% cut in compensation, and a large number of them are working without a collective agreement.
Yes, their last pay increase was April 1, 2016, yet, they continue to show up and lead our health care system. They do this for their patients, clients and residents. We should all appreciate their efforts and do our best to keep them safe. I think their efforts are worthy of our praise and acknowledgement, don’t you?
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