NDP calls for a plan to repair schools

Opposition wants to know how many schools have structural and roofing problems

Saskatchewan has a problem with run down schools, and the NDP is calling on the government to come clean on how many schools have structural or roofing problems and create a timeline for repairing them.

According to the Saskatchewan School Boards Association, 75 per cent of all school roofs will fail in the next five years. Inspections in the Prairie Spirit School Division revealed at least five schools in that Saskatoon-area division are no longer safe for children because they’re crumbling. Some of those schools have been propped up with temporary supports.

“After a decade of prosperity, it’s absolutely mind-boggling that we don’t have the best education system in the nation,” said NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon. “But, sadly, this government has neglected schools to the point that roofs are leaking and walls are being propped up. We can’t keep going like this. We need a full, transparent list of schools with structural and roofing problems, and a prioritized schedule for tackling those repairs.”

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When will electronic health records be ready, asks NDP

By March 2013, the government had already spent $502 million on an electronic health records conversion project, but Saskatchewan still hasn’t launched the system to replace the paper health records.

“It’s shocking to me that this isn’t done yet,” said NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier. “This government owes Saskatchewan taxpayers an explanation. How much more has it spent on top of the half-billion dollars we know about and why isn’t this complete yet? When will this conversion be completed?”

On Tuesday, the government is planning to “celebrate” that some “core components” of the electronic health record (EHR) system are finally ready.

“This government is obviously much better at patting itself on the back than it is at delivering,” said Chartier. “The eHealth records system should be done by now, and we all deserve an honest answer to explain why it isn’t.”

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Properly utilize City Hospital to alleviate wait times: Broten

NDP Leader Cam Broten is calling on the government to use Saskatoon City Hospital to its full capacity as MD Ambulance reveals that patients arriving at Saskatoon's emergency rooms by ambulance are waiting hours as a result of overcrowding.

City Hospital is the newest hospital in Saskatoon, and is a state-of-the-art facility. City Hospital's emergency room is only open for 11.5 hours each day. This government removed acute care from the hospital in 2008 and converted an entire wing of patient rooms to management and administration offices in 2012.

“To have emergency patients arrive by ambulance only to lay in the ambulance bay or sit in the waiting room – for 20 minutes, an hour, three hours – that’s absolutely unacceptable,” said Broten. “Can you imagine if that was your loved one? Hospital overcrowding needs immediate action, and the misuse of resources needs to change, right away.”

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Overcapacity “fiasco” inside Royal University Hospital: Nurse

A registered nurse says Royal University Hospital (RUH) is consistently overcapacity, short-staffed and lacking desperately needed supplies and equipment, which she says is hurting the level of care. The nurse points to Jan. 1 as a clear example of the ongoing crisis, as ambulances were lined up at the hospital, unable to unload their patients because there was nowhere to put them.

Lynn, a registered nurse with more than 30 years of experience at RUH, says the Jan. 1 situation was the final straw that compelled her to speak out. She describes the overcrowding as a “fiasco,” and says overcapacity conditions have become a daily reality in the hospital, and are getting worse. Lynn has asked that her real name be withheld for fear of repercussions for speaking out.

“Being overcapacity is frequent and it’s becoming more frequent,” said Lynn. She described a backlog of ambulances waiting on Jan. 1. “They couldn’t unload patients. There was no place to put them,” she said.

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Families paying more through property taxes isn’t the answer

NDP opposes government’s plan to break its promise and short-change municipalities

The NDP is highly concerned about the premier’s suggestion that he'll break his promise to municipalities, short-changing them on the municipal revenue-sharing deal and driving up property taxes and costs on families.

Brad Wall made the comments to the media Thursday.

“The fact is, the government hasn't been properly funding municipal infrastructure needs as it is,” said NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon. “For Mr. Wall to break his promise on revenue sharing on top of the short-changing that’s already been going on would squeeze growing municipalities further.

“It would mean higher property taxes and other costs for families all over the province, and that’s unacceptable.”

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