Insects infest Yorkton ORs, NDP demands to know when government will tackle hospital repairs
The NDP is calling on the government to release the capital plan for health care facilities with a timeline for when repairs will happen.
A year-old audit showed a staggering $2.2 billion in desperately needed repairs to Saskatchewan’s hospitals and health facilities. That figure includes $28.1 million in needed repairs in the Yorkton Region Health Centre, which has now cancelled 20 surgeries because of an insect infestation in its operating rooms.
“This government is allowing our hospitals and seniors care homes to get run down and filthy. In some cases, like Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital, they’re literally crumbling,” said Danielle Chartier, NDP health critic.
The NDP used the Global Day of Action on Climate Change on Sunday to criticize what it calls the government's "miserable track record on climate change" and to demand real action.
"We believe we have an obligation to be responsible stewards of the environment and to do what we can to leave future generations a healthy and vibrant planet," said Cathy Sproule, NDP environment critic. "And, as a resource-producing and trade-dependent province, it's essential that we're smart and diligent about environmental regulation and environmental protection. That's why it's been so frustrating to watch this government slash our province's emission-reduction targets and cut climate change funding by 83 per cent since 2009, including another 35 per cent in this year's budget."
A collapsed section of Highway 302 near Prince Albert has taken more than four months to repair. The NDP has been working with local community members to demand government stop making excuses and fix the road.
NDP Highways and Infrastructure critic Buckley Belanger and community members visited the area again Saturday, where work is still far from complete. The road’s initial collapse was following a culvert backup on May 3. The scheduled completion date for repairs was June 24, but the highway is still washed out, causing a lengthy detour for residents.
“The giant, four-month hole at Highway 302 is a case of highway mismanagement by this government, and that’s been happening far too often,” said Belanger. “This government has turned a common, one-month culvert repair into a four-month, $1.2 million boondoggle. Families, workers and businesses have been really hurt by the long detour in place, and they tell me they don’t want to hear one more excuse – they want to see action and results.”
New information shows Saskatchewan emergency room wait times have doubled since 2010, with patients waiting 3.4 hours before being assessed by a doctor, up from 1.7 hours in 2010.
The data was released Thursday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and shows wait times for patients in Regina and Saskatoon.
“Obviously, this government is taking health care in the wrong direction,” said NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier. “It’s ignoring the basics and putting all time and money into its obsession with Lean, so things are getting worse instead of better. The NDP wants to see the focus on front-line care.”
Chartier said long emergency room waits are a symptom of problems and backlog throughout the hospital and health system, including seniors waiting in hospital for a long-term care bed.
Opposition says government’s culture of entitlement a growing concern
The NDP says the premier and his SaskPower minister have a lot of explaining to do after documents revealed Wednesday that a $143 million proposed refurbishment of the Crown corporation’s head office includes a rooftop patio with heaters, living walls, executive area upgrades and something referred to as a “penthouse.”
“The sense of entitlement of this government, and the culture of entitlement among their friends and insiders is a growing concern,” said NDP Central Services critic Warren McCall. “Of course the government and their board appointees at SaskPower should abandon this luxury renovation plan.
“The fact that a consulting firm was hired and paid to provide an estimate on the cost of a rooftop patio with heaters, a living wall and a penthouse is a shocking misuse of public dollars and ratepayer dollars. For the government and its appointees to think this kind of lavish spending is appropriate and fair to ratepayers is shocking – especially at a time when the government is raising SaskPower rates for Saskatchewan families.”