A newly proposed Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) whistleblower hotline is being met with scepticism and criticism from Saskatchewan’s largest health care union.

“A whistleblower hotline is an unnecessary, wasteful use of tax dollars that duplicates existing complaint processes,” said Sandra Seitz, president of CUPE 5430. “Health dollars would be better invested in front-line services, like adequate staffing levels, new infrastructure, and equipment.”

Patients, residents, family members, and the public already have access to several forms of complaint processes including contacting patient advocates, client representatives or quality of care coordinators which already work out of each former health region, or making formal complaints through the various regulatory bodies, such as the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons, Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association and the Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses.

CUPE is also disappointed with how the SHA rolled out the proposed hotline.

“Our union was blindsided. We only found out about this initiative through media reports. That is an unacceptable way to learn about new projects that could negatively impact our members’ rights,” added Seitz. “Our membership deserves a say in large-scale initiatives such as a whistleblower hotline.

CUPE is also questioning the rationale for a whistleblower hotline.

“Where is the evidence that the implementation of a hotline will actually improve patient and resident care? Why is this needed now? The SHA should be guided by evidence-based research,” said Seitz.

CUPE 5430 represents 14,000 health care providers across the province of Saskatchewan.