Nurses who want to speak out against the government’s Lean experiment in health care say they are being bullied, intimidated and even punished. NDP Leader Cam Broten is demanding the premier step in immediately to end the culture of fear forced on nurses, investigate the claims and guarantee protection for nurses who need to speak out to protect patients from harm.
It was revealed through the media late Friday that nurses are being told that they have to support Lean, or risk recrimination including professional consequences and even being “put in a time-out room,” according to publicly reported comments from the president of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN), Tracy Zambory.
Concerning job cuts in health care, social services and education have continued over the last month, now reaching 4,000 jobs lost over just one year in those sectors.
Friday’s monthly report on employment from Statistics Canada shows 2,200 jobs have been cut from the education sector and 1,800 jobs have been cut from health care and social services. The unemployment rate overall increased to 4.5 per cent, up from 3.9 per cent a year ago.
“The NDP has been very concerned about this government’s move to have fewer workers on the front lines of basic services – especially health care and education,” said NDP Deputy Leader and finance critic Trent Wotherspoon. “We’re hearing about terrible short-staffing in hospitals, and far too few professionals like educational assistants in schools throughout the province. Seeing Statistics Canada numbers show a declining trend is really a cause for concern.”
Premier Brad Wall sent Cam Broten a letter requesting copies of the confidential messages sent to the Opposition from people throughout Saskatchewan about this government's Lean project.
Here is Cam's response:
$52 million cut from health care, $23 million from education, nothing for seniors care homes
The provincial government’s 2014-15 budget squeezes families and the services they count on, ensuring for another year that the strong economy will benefit government, not people.
Despite having over 50 per cent more revenue coming into government’s coffers, the budget cuts health care, offers not a single new dollar to address the seniors care crisis and heaps financial strain on municipalities, schools and universities.
Six out of seven budget must-haves laid out by the NDP have not been met.
“The message this budget sends everyday families is to brace themselves – the things they count on and really need improvements to are going to get even worse,” said Trent Wotherspoon, NDP deputy leader and finance critic. “Saskatchewan people are working harder than ever right now. They deserve a budget that uses the strong economy to benefit them – now and in the long-term. They deserve for the strong economy to translate into better hospitals, smaller classrooms and a better cost of living.”
“Instead, the government invests in pet projects, leaving just crumbs for real families and the things that matter.”
Saskatchewan families have raised concerns over the high cost of living while the basics they count on – like education, health care and seniors care – get worse.
The official Opposition is setting its expectations for the provincial budget and outlining the priorities Cam Broten and the NDP MLAs will look for in the government’s budget on Wednesday.
“For me and my team, politics isn’t just about the province doing well – it’s about people doing well. That’s the lens through which we’ll be looking at this budget,” NDP Leader Cam Broten said. “Saskatchewan families aren’t benefitting enough from the strong economy, even though they’re working harder than ever. Families are being asked to pay extra far too often, these days, in an economy that already has a high cost of living. And, the basics we should be able to count on, like health care and education, are suffering cutbacks and getting worse while this government prioritizes things like spending millions on out-of-country consultants.
“I want to see a budget that uses the strong economy to make life better for the people of Saskatchewan. And, I want to see a budget that fixes the basics of health care, seniors care and education instead of blowing money on this government’s pet projects.”