Today, we learned about another case of Saskatchewan patients and their families being forced to pay the price for the Sask. Party’s underfunding of healthcare. A 94-year-old woman has spent the last two weeks in hospital, waiting for respite care, and has not been bathed once.
“The Sask. Party keeps trying to act like nothing is wrong but anyone who has been to a hospital or health centre knows that is simply not true,” said NDP Health Critic Danielle Chartier. “Today, we’re talking about a woman who has not been given a bath in two weeks. The Sask. Party can try to cloud the issue and use political spin, but the reality of the growing crisis in healthcare couldn’t be more clear.”
Rather than invest in patient care, health regions have been forced to cut deeper. Just this week, it was announced that 20 frontline mental health workers were to be cut in Regina.
Everyday there are hospitals in the health regions covering Prince Albert, Regina, and Saskatoon that are overcapacity. Today, for example, there are 97 overcapacity beds in the Saskatoon Health Region alone – 34 of those are in so-called ‘pods’ or make-shift areas with walls often made out of blankets and sheets.
“This isn’t complicated. The Sask. Party is refusing to properly support Saskatchewan healthcare, which results in cuts to services and frontline care workers; which then leads to understaffing, overcrowding, and, ultimately, diminished patient care,” said Chartier. “We have a government that is cutting blindly with no concern for the obvious consequences.”
The overcrowding is caused by a lack of funding in the healthcare system over all. When the proper services aren’t available, people end up in the hospital and they wait longer. Last year, for example, the total time people waited in hospitals in the Saskatoon Health Region to get into long-term care was equal to 42,000 days. In Regina, there are so few resources for respite care in the home that it is often not even offered or suggested.
“We know that long hospital stays ultimately make people more susceptible to other illnesses or injuries and increase the demand on the system even more,” said Chartier. “This vicious and tragic cycle has to stop.”