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Health Bureaucrats Ordering Early Discharge of Regina Hospital Patients

Regina (October 8, 2010) – An internal memo obtained by the Saskatchewan Health Sciences Union shows the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) is now using gangs of senior bureaucrats, not the responsible health care professionals, to order the early discharge of patients from Regina hospitals.

“This is further proof that too often Saskatchewan health care employers are putting budgets ahead of the urgent needs of patients. If the provincial government’s ‘patients first’ platform is to mean anything, then it has to require health care employers to stop this foolishness, and provide publicly accountable information about their staff complements, their levels of service to patients, and their waiting lists for a wide variety of health care services, the President-Elect of Saskatchewan Health Sciences, Cathy Dickson, said following the public release of the RQHR memo.

“Until the government stands up for patients across the province, the budget bureaucrats in health care will run roughshod over the rights of patients,” Dickson said.

In the memo dated October 6, the Vice-President of Human Resources for RQHR says there are over- capacity pressures at both the Regina General and Pasqua Hospitals, which are putting strains on both staff and facilities. The memo then goes on to reveal:

“Yesterday, with the involvement of a number of medical and administrative leaders, we worked in teams and visited in-patient care units and emergency departments to assist in facilitating patient discharges. Based on this experience, we believe that during this high pressure Over-Capacity period, there is a benefit to senior leaders assisting more directly in the daily operations related to discharge of patients from the acute sites.”

“We have health bureaucrats, not the health care professionals responsible for the patient, running around hospital wards, deciding whether a patient deserves to remain in hospital! How does this match the ‘patients first’ stance the government has claimed as the core of its health care policy?” Dickson asked.

“The RQHR memo indicates this gang of senior budget bureaucrats has already run through the hallways of both hospitals looking for patients to discharge on October 6 and 7 and plans to repeat this exercise next week. Will the government order a stop to these out-of-control health bureaucrats?” Dickson asked.

“Amazingly, this kind of situation is occurring while health care employers, sitting at the bargaining table, are arguing against the need to hire more health care professionals or to provide wages and benefits that will help recruit and retain the very health care professionals who could help reduce these kinds of capacity problems,” Dickson concluded.

Health Sciences is the union which represents more than three-thousand specialized health care professionals from more than thirty health care professions. Health Sciences members include: Emergency care workers like Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs); Acute care workers like Pharmacists, Perfusionists, and Respiratory Therapists; Rehab professionals like Physical Therapists and Speech Language Pathologists; and Community-based professionals like Public Health Inspectors, Psychologists and Social Workers. These health care professionals have been without a contract since March 31, 2009.

For Further Information Contact:

Cathy Dickson, President Elect
306-960-5461

News Editors Note: A copy of the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region memo is attached

Background Documents:
Over Capacity – RGH and Pasqua Hospitals
Bargaining Update

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