Media Release: Put Care First: Tough Questions for the Health Minister

For Immediate Release - November 20, 2019

Regina – SEIU-West members will be on hand for question period today at the Saskatchewan Provincial Legislature to hear responses from the SaskParty government on health care questions from the New Democratic Party of Saskatchewan.

“The public and our members deserve to see a solid commitment by our government to fix understaffing in front line health care services,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “The lack of a realistic plan to address workloads, and recruitment and retention has left us with too few staff to provide hands on health care services safely.”

There has been a growing ‘hard to recruit’ list of jobs in existence for years in Saskatchewan. These are positions that cannot be filled due to a lack of realistic incentives for potential candidates to become qualified and/or the availability of people who are trained to do those functions.

Current SEIU-West health care providers who work in long-term care homes, hospitals, and home care have been without a contract for over 1,000 days.

“Let’s be frank, part of what attracts people to a job is the financial compensation they receive for the duties they perform,” continued Cape. “When the compensation offered is consistently below the rate of inflation or the consumer price index, health care providers, like anyone else, look for more attractive employment alternatives, or even consider going into a completely different career.”

“The two years of zero wage increases put to our members by this government constitute a real reduction in salary,” added Cape. “New hires work long enough to experience the gap in what they are expected to do versus what they are paid, and they leave for greener pastures.

“From the inability to find enough health care professionals to staff the Children’s Hospital to the systemic understaffing and alarmingly high work place injury rate in rural health care facilities, this government’s record in recruiting and retaining all members of the health care team is dismal. We call on this government to recognize and value the contribution every member of the health care team makes in every part of our public health care system. It’s time for a realistic plan for our health care.”

Visit EndUnderstaffing.ca to find out more about this issue and to send a letter to decision makers.

SEIU-West represents over 13,000 people across Saskatchewan. They include people who work in health care, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors. They are joined by one colour – purple – and one union – SEIU-West. Visit PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about SEIU-West members.

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For more information, contact:
Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator
Phone: 306-652-1011 ext. 8733

Click here to download the printable PDF file of SEIU-West's media release - Put Care First: Tough Quesitons for the Heath Minister.

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