NDP says leaked SHA memo shows Sask. Party recruitment failures

The Regina General Hospital temporarily closes one of its medical intensive care unit beds following months of staff shortages.

A leaked Saskatchewan Health Authority memo released by the Saskatchewan NDP says that the bed at the Regina General Hospital is to be closed until the beginning of September.

“Due to multiple vacancies, staffing these beds over the last number of months has relied heavily upon contract services,” the memo said. “Unfortunately, there has been a number of contracts cancelled at the last minute, and we are unable to find replacement units in late summer.”

The memo says it expects to find staffing replacements later this summer so the bed can reopen by Sept. 5.

Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck said the memo shows that the Sask. Party’s recruitment strategies have failed to staff the Regina General Hospital adequately.

“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.”

Health Critic Vikki Mowat said the leaked memo stands in contrast to claims by Health Minister Paul Merriman that their plan is working and that the Sask. Party has “the most ambitious human health resource plan in the nation of Canada.”

“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,” she said. “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.”

Mowat added that the Government’s recruitment strategy had been heavily criticized by Saskatchewan healthcare workers and the Provincial Auditor, who found that even if the government’s plan is executed perfectly, Saskatchewan will still be over 1,000 healthcare workers short.

The Saskatchewan Party government says it’s been hiring more healthcare employees to address the system’s wait times and other problems.

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