Low staffing levels in health care is a real problem: NDP

Negotiations with nurses stall over the number of nurses on shift

With negotiations between the Sask. Party government and the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses stalled, NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier is urging the Sask. Party to realize that low staffing levels are a real problem they can’t keep ignoring.

“Talk to patients. Listen to nurses. Hear what’s actually going on in hospitals and care homes,” Chartier urged. “The Sask. Party sinks a massive amount of money into a bloated layer of senior management, Lean staff and consultants when there just aren’t enough direct-care professionals at bedsides. Nurses are run off their feet, and waits at every stage of hospital care and in seniors care homes are often far too long.

“The Sask. Party’s priorities are so messed up, they’re actually cutting front-line health care workers. For patients and families, that’s just wrong.”

Registered nurses file a Work Situation Report when safety and patient care was put at risk. In 2015, Saskatchewan’s nurses filed 870 such reports – and a shocking 81 per cent of them cite short-staffing as the cause.

 Meanwhile, pay for senior management increased by an average of 20 per cent between 2012 and 2015 – The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region’s top bosses take home 46 per cent more, and Five Hills Health Region’s senior managers are making 37 per cent more.

“There’s always more for Lean, more for consultants, and more for executives at desks when it comes to the Sask. Party,” said Chartier. “But when it comes to direct patient-care, the Sask. Party makes cuts.

“Give your head a shake, get back to the bargaining table and focus on patient safety.”