Cam Broten and the NDP argue for health care turnaround

Understaffing is causing problems in hospitals and seniors care homes, and NDP Leader Cam Broten and the Opposition MLAs called for a solution during the first full week of the fall session of the legislative assembly.

“Listening to the heart-breaking stories of Saskatchewan families, it’s clear that this government is heading in the wrong direction when it comes to patient care and seniors care,” said Broten.

Sylvia Phillips spent more than seven weeks in a hospital in Saskatoon waiting for space in a seniors care home. Her family said because of short-staffing, family members needed to be there from morning until night because she couldn’t feed herself and was left to soil herself in bed.

Her son, Leon Phillips, said when he and his sister ran out of vacation time and couldn’t be with her all day, they had to pay $1,000 per week for a private caregiver to help their mom with basic needs in the hospital.

Broten also brought Suzanne Stewart’s story to the legislature. Stewart is a retired registered nurse, who said that coming back to a hospital as a patient over the last year has shown her that things have gotten much, much worse. She pointed to “filthy dirty” conditions that included feces on the bathroom walls and vomit on the floor that wasn’t cleaned for days as a result of short staffing.

“It’s time for a change,” said Broten. “People are holding up their end of the bargain when it comes to taking care of their families – it’s time for this government to hold up its end of the deal. It’s time for the government to recognize that care is getting worse, and it has to stop.”  

In 2011, the government quietly changed the law to remove “sufficient staffing” as a requirement in seniors care homes. Subsequently, memos have been distributed to inform staff that bathing, laundry, serving hot meals and other basic care requirements should be considered “non-essential.”

“Patients and seniors deserve better,” said Broten. “The NDP Opposition will keep listening to Saskatchewan families and pushing this government to give people the care and dignified conditions we all deserve.”

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus
306-787-6349
emorrison@ndpcaucus.sk.ca