NDP Leader Cam Broten wants a ban on layoffs of front-line health-care workers until after the election, saying the Sask. Party’s new layoffs will hurt already-strained patient care.
“This election is about priorities,” said Broten. “The Sask. Party is keeping its Lean promoters, but taking health care workers away from bedsides. They’re keeping their bloated, highly paid management, but cutting understaffed acute care.
“Cutting patient care while spending big on waste is a choice that does not match families’ priorities. That’s why I’m calling for the Sask. Party’s planned health care layoffs to be put on hold for six weeks – because it doesn’t have to be this way and Saskatchewan people should have an opportunity to pass judgment on these plans.”
In recent days, front-line health care workers in the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region have been receiving layoff notices. That’s in addition to at least 150 planned job cuts in Regina and area health-care facilities, and major job cuts coming in the Saskatoon Health Region.
“After a decade of record resource boom, it's outrageous that it has come to this,” said Broten. “How on earth did the Sask. Party blow through the Rainy Day Fund during sunny times? How did they waste hundreds of millions on pet projects like Lean and the smart meters fiasco? Mr. Wall and the Sask. Party coasted and wasted in good times, blowing through stacks of cash but failing to properly invest – and now they’re asking patients and families to pay the price.
“Mr. Wall needs to put the facts on the table – how many heath care workers have already been laid off, and how many more jobs will he eliminate if his party wins the upcoming election? Let’s start with that truth and then lay out the alternatives. I want to cut waste – not care, because services in our hospitals, care homes and home care programs need to be protected and improved.”
Hospitals and care facilities throughout the province are already dealing with a shortage of staff, causing long waits and backlogs. In 2014, 18,000 patients walked away from Saskatchewan’s emergency rooms before a doctor could get to them, because they couldn't stand the long and painful wait – including patients who were considered in urgent need of medical care.
One layoff notice shared with the NDP, dated Feb. 18, 2016, shows that acute care staff in Victoria Hospital were given a form letter.