This is our first celebration of Health Care Provider Week during a pandemic. 

Together, let’s pause and consider the incredible amount of work that each member of the health care provider team does every day and the challenges they face.

Health care providers work in many classifications for their patients, clients and residents in all of our communities, both rural and urban, across the province.

This dedicated, highly skilled, and caring team of professionals includes technologists with specialized skills; front line nursing staff who provide direct hands-on care and technical expertise; administrative professionals who manage scheduling, billing, and organization to ease the flow of work; our environmental services workers who provide a clean, safe and healthy care environment; our food services staff who ensure tasty and nutritious meals; our medical device reprocessing staff who ensure equipment and tools are sterilized; our facility and trades people who manage the infrastructure needs and challenges of our new and aging buildings; and our security officers who keep a watchful eye to ensure everyone in and around the buildings are kept safe.

There are so many staff who are the beating heart and soul of health care, that we regret we can’t mention them all.

We see appreciation for the vital role that all health care providers play. Since the COVID pandemic began, we have been witness to the general public’s show of appreciation for health care providers, by way of community activities such as singing, chalk artwork, public mentions of thanks, and banging pots. 

Unfortunately, our health care system has been chronically understaffed for far too long and that has compounded the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Recruitment efforts are a challenge as our members have remained without a contract for 1300 days and too often they are required to work in unsafe care environments which puts their patients, clients and residents at risk. 

Understaffing puts health care providers at risk physically, mentally and emotionally. Our work environment becomes the care environment for people seeking health care services.

Government announcements to build new facilities will not resolve the systemic understaffing issues.

We need a government commitment to invest in the health human resources to provide the care in those buildings and strong legislated minimum care minimum standards to truly put care first.

We all deserve quality public health care services in Saskatchewan. We are calling on you, members of the public, to help protect your public health care system and your health care providers by telling the provincial government to put care first and end understaffing.

In recognition of every person on the health care team, we want you to know that our health care heroes have gone above and beyond in their efforts to keep us safe.  We also know that they have put themselves and their families at risk in order to do their work. Please join SEIU-West and show your support for health care providers and the incredible skill and dedication they bring to work every day.

Barbara Cape

President, SEIU-West

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