Letter to the Premier- Martin Been, Office Clerk (July, 2020)
Dear Mr. Moe
I want to personally thank you for your response to the e-mail which I sent to you on July 14, 2020. However, in my review of your reply, I feel that you’ve failed to address the issue I presented. I have some observations to share and further questions that I hope you will respond to.
I commend the Sask Party for the work it has done as noted by the 11% increase in overall staffing between 2006-07 and 2018-19. These numbers are important to you and the Sask Party government – I note that they are never accompanied by the numbers of increased beds in acute care and long term care, nor the pronounced care needs presented by our ballooning population since 2008.
My challenge to you is that the population has increased by well over 11% and your increase in staffing numbers are inordinately low if you truly understand what is occurring in health care.
While 702 additional FTE care providers working in LTC facilities across the province since 2007 sounds impressive, it fails to provide the true numbers. 702 FTE care providers across the province translates to 702 divided by the number of LTC facilities province wide at 159 equals 4.415 FTE per facility.
Once broken down, the stat loses its impressiveness, particularly when you note the added beds in long term care since 2007.
I find it interesting that your revelation of numbers fails to include the fact that home care hours have been reduced by 8% since 2014. The loss of hours would account for a reduction in staff. This is particularly disturbing when you fully contemplate the cost savings to the ER and long term care by having seniors access quality public home care services in their homes.
Another stat conveniently absent involves vacant positions absorbed in the system with the excess work distributed among remaining active positions. Vacant positions result from seasoned workers retiring, or once dedicated employees exiting the system due to demoralization, stress, and fatigue.
This is an ongoing issue in health care. Also, are you aware that the number of hard to recruit classifications in health care has all but doubled under the Sask Party government? Are you keeping track of this data?
Minister Harpauer had mentioned that SEIU-West is currently in negotiations with our employer and the best place for these matters to be worked out is at the bargaining table. Unfortunately, SAHO, the bargaining agent for the employer, which is overseen by your government, has walked away from the negotiating table.
They have confirmed at the table that the government mandate 0%, 0%, 1%, 2% & 2% is fixed and they have no authority to provide any added monetary pieces. I suspect you are aware that this will trigger job action.
Is your unwillingness to provide any additional monies based on your reliance that the Sask Party Essential Service Legislation will sufficiently thwart meaningful job action? Or do you believe that all health care workers are expendable?
In the midst of everything going on in the world today, I figured why not reach out to the one person who possesses the means to halt the train wreck currently occurring in Saskatchewan health care. It seems there is a willingness to help out certain other groups – why not health care workers?
Past accomplishments by this government should not be merely admired. In regards to health care, they should be viewed as the framework for something better moving forward.
Investing in the livelihood of the residents of Saskatchewan will reap its own rewards.