Saskatchewan’s Opposition NDP further criticized the provincial government’s strategies in health care recruitment when it released a leaked memo from the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Opposition Leader Carla Beck and Health Critic Vicki Mowat gathered with media members on July 12 outside the Regina General Hospital where a bed closure in its Intensive Care Unit seems imminent. The memo’s contents indicate that a number of contracts were cancelled at the last minute leaving no staff replacement until summer’s end.
“While the Sask. Party says one thing publicly, their internal memos paint a much different picture. Their recruitment strategy isn’t working,” said Beck. “This province is the birthplace of Medicare. Yet under Scott Moe, we have the longest hospital waits and too many patients can’t find a family doctor. If the Sask. Party isn’t interested in rolling up their sleeves and doing the work, we are.”
A release by the NDP says the leaked memo stands in stark contrast to claims by Health Minister Paul Merriman that progress is being made on the recruitment front. The NDP release went on to note that those recruitment efforts have been criticized by health care workers. Saskatchewan Union of Nurses president, Tracy Zambori, previously cautioned that the government’s plan to hire 100,000 health care workers over the next few years is too slow to provide the relief needed now.
“If you’re more focused on how to spin the problem rather than fix the problem, we’re going to continue to lose healthcare workers and our patients will wait longer and longer for care,” said Mowat. “We need to be working with our healthcare workers on retention strategies while promoting some of our under-utilized staff, like our part-time and casual healthcare workers, into full-time positions to reduce the strain on the system.”