NDP wants John Black Lean to leave with John Black

The government and its American Lean consultant cooked up more bizarre ways to waste health care dollars than just John Black’s $40 million cash cow contract – and the NDP wants every wasteful element of the government's Lean pet project to leave with Black.

“It’s not just the salesman who has to go – the toxic and wasteful version of Lean he sold to this government also has to go,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten.

The government revealed Monday that it will end the John Black contract in March 2015 instead of June 2015, but the government will carry on implementing John Black's version of Lean after the contract concludes.

Saskatchewan taxpayers will keep footing the bill for Lean specialists in hospitals and health facilities throughout the province, including at least $17 million per year for Kaizen Promotion Offices, and untold millions more for bizarre training to keep putting John Black Lean into practice.

Meanwhile, the health regions’ own records, obtained through access to information laws, show a paltry $60,000 of savings through the years of John Black Lean. Multiple surveys of doctors, nurses and health care workers as well as the government’s own Health Quality Council statistics and the health minister’s annual report all show that John Black Lean doesn’t work in health care, and health care by nearly every measure is getting worse.

“Saskatchewan’s health care system is incredibly top heavy with managers, consultants and Lean specialists instead of the front-line health care professionals we desperately need. We keep hearing that patient safety and quality of care is getting worse as a result. Cutting John Black loose a bit early doesn’t mean we’re free from all the toxic and wasteful aspects of this project,” said Broten.

“This government has full-time Lean specialists using stop-watches to time how long nurses spend with each patient, and putting masking tape around every clock and stapler to show where it goes. Meanwhile, wait times in emergency rooms and for specialists are far too long. Hospitals are often filthy. Nurses and care aides are run off their feet. Seniors are being horribly neglected in care homes. It’s good to get rid of John Black, but John Black Lean has to go too. This government needs to stop wasting millions and millions and use that money to fix the basics on the front-lines in our hospitals and care facilities.”

Broten said any good aspects of Lean come from giving front-line workers the time and authority to act with common sense and that John Black and this government have utterly failed to understand that. Earlier this fall, the NDP revealed an internal document from senior health administrators, which said, “Our experience with [John Black and Associates] has been one of lack of respect, tattling on leaders if they question, expecting rigid conformity in a militaristic style, gossiping, and undermining.”

Broten said the $17-million Kaizen Promotion Offices, the millions being spent on Lean specialists, the “Lean Go Team” and all other wasteful aspects of John Black Lean that have been diverting dollars and attention away from the front-lines of care need to end immediately.

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus