“Health care restructuring will disrupt the established systems and relationships of providing health care in the province,” said Gordon Campbell, president of CUPE Health Care Council. “Today’s announcement creates more uncertainty for frontline workers and for rural communities across Saskatchewan. It is also questionable that any cost savings will result.”
Past experiences from across the country raise several flags when it comes to reorganization. Alberta has faced many challenges since merging all of its health regions into one. A report written for the government of Alberta raised several concerns with the larger system, including that the structure is confusing to navigate for patients and the general public and that staff do not know who they report to or who they can go to for assistance and support.
“We are concerned that one central superboard will be less responsive and harder to navigate for patients and communities,” said Campbell. “Will this lead to reduced services and a loss of decision making in communities, especially in rural communities? What will this mean for access to health care in communities like Preeceville, Wawota, or Grenfell that have already been experiencing issues?”
The uncertainty during and after the last two reorganizations caused stress, low morale, and confusion for frontline workers in Saskatchewan. All of these factors can have an impact on quality of care for patients and residents.
“Reorganization will cause significant disruption to the whole health system and distract from the main purpose of the health care system: providing quality care to patients and residents,” said Campbell. “During this uncertain time, CUPE will continue to advocate for quality of public care across the province and on behalf of our members.”
CUPE is the largest health care union in Saskatchewan, representing over 13,000 members. CUPE members work in acute care, long term care, home care, rehabilitation, and public and community services as emergency medical responders, continuing care assistants, licensed practical nurses, dietary staff, medical technologists and technicians, housekeeping and laundry aides, security, clerical and maintenance staff, therapeutic and recreation workers.