Communities across Saskatchewan are facing health care service disruptions, emergency room shutdowns, bed closures and an exodus of health care staff.
“Information around closures and service disruptions should be available to the public and tracked. The government is not providing this information and wants to charge us almost $10,000 to process a Freedom of Information request. This is completely unacceptable,” said Bashir Jalloh, president of CUPE 5430. “Saskatchewan people deserve to know the true state of our health care system without a price tag attached.”
The local submitted a FOI request to both the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority to determine the exact location and date of the health care closures. However, the health authority did not respond by the end of the 30-day deadline, and the Ministry of Health is seeking an exorbitant fee for processing the request.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority website only lists service disruptions if they are longer than seven consecutive days. Shorter term disruptions are posted on facility doors and may be shared through informal networks. Bed closures may not even be publicly announced.
“Health care service disruptions and closures are happening across the province, but this government seems allergic to transparency,” added Jalloh. “We have tried tracking online. We have tried filing a FOI request. Now we are going directly to the public.”
CUPE 5430 is taking matters into their own hands and has launched a public survey to gather the information the government is not providing. The survey will be open until mid-August. Anyone who is concerned with access to health care is encouraged to fill out the online survey at www.cupe5430.ca
“The Sask. Party government needs to take this issue seriously. We need to know the full scope of the problem so we can move forward with solutions,” concluded Jalloh.
“What we already know and have been ringing alarm bells about is short staffing which is the main cause of these closures. We have also been offering solutions which have all fallen on deaf ears. The government cannot keep ignoring the issue and it cannot make it go away by blockading critical information with massive price tags.”