Saskatchwan’s newest provincial budget is balanced in favour of bureaucracy, at the expense of front line care, says CUPE 5430< The merger of 12 health regions into the Saskatchewan Health Authority was predicted to save $20 million annually, with all savings being directed to front line care. But there is little evidence to show that such cost savings were realized.
“Where are all of the savings we were promised from the amalgamation? Where is the support for front line workers who deliver hands on care?” said Sandra Seitz, President of CUPE 5430. “This budget shows us that executive salaries have continued to grow, while front line workers are doing more with less.”
CUPE members are facing unprecedented workloads due to understaffing, underfunding and higher patient acuity and resident care needs. This results in more exhaustion, workplace violence and injuries.
“The reality is that patients and residents in the health care system are not seeing the improved care the government is claiming,” said Seitz. “We need a government that invests in providing quality, hands on care for patients and residents – not more investment in health care executives and consultants.”
The budget was also silent on two of the issues on the top of mind for Saskatchewan people: wait times, and a comprehensive strategy for seniors’ care.
“There is nothing in the budget that addresses the dire infrastructure deficiencies plaguing long-term care facilities across the province. Notably, there was nothing to address the urgent need to replace crumbling long-term care facilities in Regina and Grenfell,” said Seitz.
The one silver lining in the budget was the announcement of increased funding for mental health and addictions.
“CUPE 5430 welcomes the additional funding for mental health and addictions, but the funding doesn’t come close to meeting the needs of the communities. We are in a crisis situation with mental health and addictions and 114 new beds will only address a fraction of the needs in our communities,” said Seitz. “CUPE is advocating for a comprehensive provincial strategy for mental health and addictions.”