Saskatoon – A recent assault on a health care provider walking to Royal University Hospital (RUH) from their car located off-site has shone a bright light on the lack of parking for hospital staff and safety of our streets.
“I’d like to say that this is an isolated incident,” says Tanya Sheppard, Medical Laboratory Technologist working at RUH and the Children’s Hospital. “Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time and likely won’t be the last time a healthcare worker is harassed or assaulted on their way to or from work.”
Parking on the RUH campus is mostly reserved for visitors with a two-to-three-hour limit and while there is parking for staff, there is a years-long waiting lists for spaces. Since an on-site solution isn’t immediately available, SEIU-West is looking for some short-term options that would work for staff and even families who can’t access parking on-site.
“Parking at Saskatoon’s three hospitals is an issue that existed prior to the Children’s Hospital being built and wasn’t fully addressed when the building was constructed,” adds SEIU-West President, Barbara Cape. “If Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon is the trauma center for northern and central Saskatchewan, then we need to consider these additional needs when we are funding public infrastructure.
“Our members are demanding this be addressed. We’ve suggested a Park and Ride option; a safe walk/ride option; but ultimately, we need to build a staff parkade” Cape notes. “We need some options that keep our members safe and respect the neighbourhoods’ needs for residential parking.”
SEIU-West has brought the assault to the attention of the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and is actively looking for solutions to this issue at RUH and other facilities across the province.
“Unless there is a strong will from the SHA and the government to prioritize the safety of their staff, patients, and visitors to our hospitals beyond the walls of the facility, then these issues will persist and have the potential to get worse,” continues Cape. “We want both the government of Saskatchewan and the SHA to be an active partner with the healthcare unions to improve safety for everyone—it’s long overdue.”
Service Employees International Union West (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.
For more information, contact:
Communications Coordinator, SEIU-West
306-652-1011 ext. 2244