NDP: Chronic short-staffing in healthcare has been made worse by the pandemic

REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Deputy Leader Nicole Sarauer introduced local healthcare workers from Regina, Broadview, and Yorkton calling on the Sask. Party government to address the issue of chronic short-staffing in Saskatchewan healthcare - an issue long before COVID - and develop a comprehensive health staffing strategy to deal with the issue of retention and recruitment. 

“This has been a long-standing issue in Saskatchewan and the failure of this Sask. Party government to address it only exacerbated the problem during the pandemic,” said Sarauer. 

“Healthcare workers in this province feel abandoned by their government, a government which has asked them to do more and more at their jobs, while failing to do their own by being proactive in their COVID policies and measures. The last twenty months have been a real slap in the face.”

The pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge for healthcare workers across Saskatchewan, which after almost two years is taking a significant toll on staff. Short-staffing has amplified that toll, with most in healthcare consistently working short, being denied holidays and being repeatedly called to come into work on days off. This has cratered morale, with many in the field frustrated with the lack of action and rhetoric coming from the Sask. Party government. 

“The government needs to get serious about addressing a staffing crisis that has plagued Saskatchewan’s health and long-term care systems for over a decade,” said Bashir Jalloh, President of CUPE 5430. “Some people thought the premier was finally acknowledging the staffing problem in the system when he promised to hire 300 additional CCAs during the 2020 election campaign but that commitment was watered down to 108 positions in the last budget. We know how to solve the crisis in health care staffing, and the government of Saskatchewan has the tools: Market supplements, better wages, and full-time permanent jobs.”

This is a challenge that requires a whole of government response and the Official Opposition is calling on the government to sit down with healthcare professionals to create a comprehensive health staffing strategy to retain current staff and implement a plan to persistently recruit new workers. 

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