The Sask Party Government is on the hot seat for a directive to Saskatchewan health care employees about communicating their concerns with the opposition. On April 18, Official Opposition Health Critic Vicki Mowat and Ethics and Democracy Critic Meara Conway levied their criticism over a leaked confidential memo, issued to health care workers at the Lanigan Hospital, instructing workers not to communicate their concerns.
“The Sask. Party government is running our hospitals into the ground and muzzling the nurses and doctors trying to speak up,” said Mowat at a new conference at the Legislature. “We’re in a national competition to hire and retain healthcare workers. This government should be listening to healthcare workers, not silencing and censoring them.”
A release from the NDP Opposition outlines that on February 7, Opposition MLAs visited the Lanigan as a part of the Saskatchewan NDP’s province-wide Healthcare Solutions and Consultation Outreach. While meeting with the Mayor, town Council and healthcare workers offsite, a confidential muzzling-memo was issued to employees of the Lanigan Hospital.
The memo gave instructions to workers that they should not provide information to government officials or Opposition MLAs. Instead, all inquiring parties were to be directed to the Saskatchewan Health Authority through “Central Coordination.”
The release acknowledges that Minister of Rural and Remote Health Everett Hindley said the criticism that his government is centralizing healthcare decision making in the Premier’s office and failing to listen to frontline healthcare workers “could not be more wrong.”
The brief went on to criticize the Sask Party Government’s move to centralized health care administration in the first place.
“This muzzling-memo raises serious questions about the Sask. Party’s credibility when it comes to healthcare,” said Conway. “The Sask. Party’s decision to centralize health regions has not improved our hospitals or made waits shorter. If anything, we’ve seen repeated attempts by this current government to politicize healthcare decision-making and silence healthcare workers from speaking out.”