Prince Albert (June 7, 2011) – Since Saskatchewan’s three-thousand specialized health care professionals began strike action last month, to focus public attention on chronic under-staffing and non-competitive wages and benefits for their professions, health regions have been playing political games with job postings in an attempt to cover up these serious problems, Health Sciences President Cathy Dickson charged.
“Our strike action has exposed the fact that health regions have been balancing their budgets on the backs of patients and specialized health care professionals, by refusing to post vacant positions for months on end. This practice, known as ‘vacancy management’ has created long waiting lists for some health care services, and stretched the limits of patient safety for others,” Dickson said.
“Since strike action began last month, health regions have posted ninety-four Health Sciences positions in twelve different health regions in an attempt to hide their ‘vacancy management’. This political job posting frenzy confirms that health regions have been sitting on vacancies for months, and it took public exposure to finally embarrass them into action,” Dickson said.
“We suspect these political games will also expose the other major problem that prompted our strike action – non-competitive wages and benefits. It will be interesting to track how quickly health regions actually fill these new job postings, because recruitment and retention problems are already apparent in many health regions. A few examples:
“These unfilled vacancies speak volumes about the non-competitive wages and benefits offered to specialized health care professionals in Saskatchewan,” Dickson said.
“It’s important to note that less than half of the jobs posted recently are for full-time positions. The majority are for part-time, temporary and casual positions. Too many of these postings look like an attempt by the employer to pump up the total number of jobs posted, knowing full well that there is little hope anyone will apply. For example, one position posted in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region is for a part-time Pharmacist that offers the equivalent of one, eight-hour shift per week in Grenfell,” Dickson noted.
“These developments show why we can’t trust health care employers to apply professional standards of care for our services, without a formal system to make their staffing decisions public, transparent and fully accountable. The Wall government accepted the need for professional standards with respect to registered nurses. Other health care professions deserve no less, because patient safety is at stake,” Dickson concluded.
Health Sciences represents more than three-thousand specialized health care professionals from more than thirty health care professions. Members include: Emergency care workers like Paramedics; Acute care workers like Hospital 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.
For Further Information Contact:
President, Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan