PIDA annual report, released Tuesday, says health workers should be included
In agreement with the commissioner, the NDP wants the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) to be changed to include employees of health regions.
“Of those public employees who contact the official Opposition with concerns about their workplace, the majority are health care workers,” said NDP justice critic John Nilson. “Many health care professionals are concerned about patient safety with the implementation of Lean. They have contacted us about specific incidents they say put patients at risk, but so often they want to maintain anonymity because they fear losing their jobs or being punished for speaking out.”
The Public Interest Disclosure commissioner’s annual report says a “significant number” of the inquiries from public employees came from the health care sector this year – but the commissioner’s office doesn’t have the jurisdiction to follow up and protect those workers.
The NDP is renewing its call for the government to actively address serious concerns with its smart meter program after yet another house fire was sparked.
“Families have questions, and they deserve answers from the government,” said Cathy Sproule, NDP critic for SaskPower.
Government’s Lean program is hurting care
The health system caused more critical incidents in Saskatchewan’s hospitals and health facilities last year than in any other year – another indication the government’s Lean overhaul of health care is making things worse instead of better, according to the NDP.
The Ministry of Health annual report shows 195 critical incidents for the 2013/14 fiscal year. That’s up from 161 a year earlier and 127 the year before that. Critical incidents are defined as the actual or potential loss of life, limb or function caused by the health system.
Vulnerable seniors with dementia are being moved out of the dementia unit at the Yorkton and District Nursing Home as spaces are being cut for budgetary reasons.
One full wing of the 48-bed dementia unit is closing. Some residents with dementia will be moved to beds in the care home that are not specialized for dementia care while others will be moved out of Yorkton to find a placement.
Non-qualified electrical workers allowed to install smart meters, thanks to exemption
The government is using workers who are not qualified electrical workers to replace SaskPower and SaskEnergy meters with smart meters. With six fires resulting from meter swaps in just two months, the NDP wants the government to reconsider that policy.
The laws in Saskatchewan require a worker be a journeyman electrician or supervised apprentice to work with the voltage contained in electrical meters, but the government gave the smart meter project an exemption to the law so less-trained workers could remove the existing meters and install the new smart meters.
“We’re concerned that the government’s decision to do the work with less-qualified workers may be putting the safety of people and property at risk, including the safety of the installers,” said Cathy Sproule, the NDP’s critic for SaskPower.