CUPE has serious concerns about how a major reorganization of health care regions will impact workers, patients, and quality of care.

“Past experiences from Saskatchewan and across the country raise several flags when it comes to reorganization,” said Patty Brockman, staff representative with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). “Larger health regions have a disproportional impact on rural communities and could lead to reduced services and a loss of decision making in communities.”

Saskatchewan has gone through two previous health care reorganizations. The uncertainty during and after the last two reorganizations caused stress and confusion for frontline workers in Saskatchewan. Research suggests there are also health impacts associated with a long period of uncertainty, including low morale, burnout, and decreased job satisfaction. All of these factors can have an impact on quality of care for patients and residents.

“Both instances of reorganization disrupted the whole health system and distracted from the main purpose of the health care system: providing quality care to patients and residents,” said Brockman.

CUPE is also skeptical of the supposed benefits of health reorganization.

“The potential cost savings of health region reorganization may just be a pipedream that is not actually realized,” said Brockman.  “The province needs to take a good, long look at the actual impacts before moving forward. A ‘few months’ may not provide adequate time.

“There needs to be an extensive public feedback process, with ample opportunity to hear from residents and workers in rural Saskatchewan, before any decisions are made on the structure of our health care system.”

There are also concerns that this may open the door to further privatization of health care services.

CUPE will participate in any government process and give voice to the serious concerns we have going forward,” said Brockman.