Sask. Party cuts deliver devastating blow to Saskatchewan healthcare

Yesterday, it was announced that 260 healthcare positons have been cut in the Saskatoon Health Region and today, it was reported that more frontline workers will also be cut in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region. With fewer people doing the important work of caring for people, the impact on patient care will be devastating, direct, and immediate.

“Our hospitals are bursting at the seams and nurses and other healthcare workers are overworked as it is,” said NDP Health Critic Danielle Chartier. “Cutting even more of the people who provide the care we expect from our hospitals and care centres will mean that our friends, neighbours, and family members are not going to get the care they deserve and need.”

After years of wasting surpluses, blowing through the rainy day fund, and squandering record resource revenues, the Sask. Party is, once again, making Saskatchewan people to pay the price for Sask. Party mismanagement. Over the last year alone, senior management salaries in the Saskatoon Health Region have increased by half a million dollars. Included in these raises were payouts that resulted from Lean - the Sask. Party’s American consulting firm’s scheme - that made five managers ‘Acting Vice-Presidents’ for 90 days. In 2015 the health region spent $27,265 on this. In 2016, it jumped to $465,312.

“Instead of taking responsibility for wasting millions on consultants and allowing massive increases to executive salaries, the Sask. Party is cutting patient care and laying off frontline workers,” said Chartier. “The Sask. Party’s financial troubles are not the result of a Saskatchewan families expecting good care for their injured child or their aging grandmother. But these are exactly the people who will be hurt by their cuts.”

Chartier noted that people from all over Saskatchewan rely on services provided in Saskatoon and Regina and that even with the layoffs, the Saskatoon Health Region has still been saddled with a $30 million deficit. Other health regions are also suffering because of the Sask. Party’s underfunding. The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region posted a $15.2 million deficit for last year and the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region has an accumulated operating debt of more than $20.3 million.

“Simply put, the Sask. Party cannot continue to underfund and cut the healthcare system generations of Saskatchewan people and governments of all stripes have worked so hard to build,” said Chartier. “Sask. Party underfunding and cuts have already created many problems in our hospitals and care centres. Laying off healthcare workers and other frontline staff will obviously make the situation worse - not better.”