Cancer care renovation money wasted

Before pipes broke, doctors and other staff time diverted to Lean reno that hasn’t happened

Before a collapsed pipe forced cancer patients out of the Saskatoon Cancer Centre this week, the Sask. Party wasted millions of Saskatchewan Cancer Agency dollars reassigning staff to plan a John Black Lean renovation of the facility that hasn’t happened.

Documents received via access to information laws show thousands of staff days wasted as Saskatchewan Cancer Agency staff attended more than 40 Lean events, most of them five-days long and involving dozens of Cancer Agency employees. For roughly 2,300 staff days, radiation therapists, early detection physicians, oncologists and other health professionals attended John Black Lean workshops instead of treating patients – much of which was spent in “3P” workshops, planning a Lean-inspired renovation of the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency that never happened.

Meanwhile, the current Saskatchewan Cancer Agency building suffered. A collapsed pipe in recent days saw patients rescheduled, and the radiation therapy area needing to be cleaned. About 175 patients’ appointments did not happen Tuesday.

“Talk about misplaced priorities and waste,” said Danielle Chartier, the NDP Health critic. “This government has millions of dollars for John Black Lean nonsense, including planning a Lean-inspired renovation of the Cancer Agency building that hasn't happened. But they can’t come up with the money to properly maintain the building, and to protect vulnerable cancer patients from this kind of failure.

“Spending millions of dollars and wasting doctors’ time to dream up what a John Black cancer clinic might look like while failing to do the basic maintenance on the existing clinic is not right.”

The NDP previously revealed that the cancer agency is renting expansive warehouses in Saskatoon for those 3P planning events. The warehouses typically sit empty, ready to host John Black 3P events.

The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency also has a Lean Kaizen Promotion Office, with five full-time staff dedicated to the promotion of John Black Lean.

Although hundreds of health care staff are being laid off province-wide, there are more than 120 staff members whose jobs are exclusively Lean promotion.