People marching with signs and flagsEarlier this week in Broadview, Saskatchewan, CUPE 5430 President Bashir Jalloh and executive members joined health care workers at a bargaining information rally in front of the Broadview Hospital to raise awareness about the crisis in rural health care in the province. This is the fifth in a series of information rallies across the province to pressure the provincial government to provide a fair deal at the bargaining table.

“We are rallying in Broadview today to shine a light on the crisis in rural health care. Too often, families in rural areas cannot get care where and when they need it,” said Bashir Jalloh, president of CUPE 5430. “Chronic short staffing has disrupted Broadview hospital services far too frequently in recent years. Worse, it’s just one of many hospitals experiencing similar disruptions along the number one highway east of Regina. These hospital closures are dangerous and unacceptable.”

A new research report from the University of Regina’s Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU), “The Current State of Health Care in Saskatchewan” highlighted concerning statistics on the state of rural health care:

  • The number of vacant health care positions has doubled since 2019.
  • That between 2019 and 2023, there were 952 service disruptions for a total of 6,795 days. Broadview Hospital services were disrupted for 160 days in the same period.
  • The Saskatchewan Health Authority’s reliance on casual and part-time rather than full-time positions is worsening short-staffing issues in rural areas.

“Rural health care workers are committed to their patients, but they need help,” said CUPE 5430 Region 3 General Vice-President Janell Hubbard. “The provincial government needs to increase full-time positions and better compensate health care workers that provide vital care in communities across the province. If they don’t, we will continue to see health care workers choosing to leave their professions or the province entirely.”

CUPE 5430 is calling for a fair deal at the bargaining table to address retention issues and the expansion of permanent, full-time health care positions across the province.