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Inefficient Staffing Could Lead to Hospital Admissions Crisis

Saskatoon (March 10, 2014) – Saskatoon Health Region could soon face another hospital admissions crisis, due in part to its inefficient staffing of the people responsible for arranging patient access to Special Care Homes, Home Care Programs, Community Therapy Services and Community Volunteer Services such as Meals on Wheels, Health Sciences President Karen Wasylenko said today.

“The Client/Patient Access Service (CPAS) is the centralized entry point for patients from Saskatoon and surrounding communities such as Borden, Warman and Martensville to access certain health care services or determine their eligibility for admission to those services. This group is also the link to rural communities within the region, and they facilitate discharge and support set up for out-of-region patients. If this group of professional Client Care Coordinators is under-staffed or inefficiently staffed, the entire system suffers. Patients waiting for needs assessment and information often end up stuck in emergency rooms or hospital wards until more appropriate services are arranged,” Wasylenko said.

“In spite of the importance of this group to the efficient functioning of the health region, positions within CPAS have been left vacant for months at a time, most vacancies and new hires are being filled with casual employees rather than full-time staff, and the health region refuses to be publicly accountable and transparent with its staffing decisions. Staffing of this vital service is a mess,” Wasylenko said.

“The lack of public accountability surrounding the staffing of CPAS is just the latest example of why all Saskatchewan health regions must be required by the Ministry of Health to publish a list of all health care positions, report on how these positions have increased or decreased over time, provide a public statement about the level of service the region expects to achieve with these staffing levels, and provide regular updates on staff vacancies. The public has a right to know what the health regions are doing with our tax dollars, and must be able to make informed judgements about management’s priorities. Public accountability and transparency are vital steps toward truly putting ‘patients first’,” Wasylenko added.

“We firmly believe that the inefficient staffing of CPAS could lead to another hospital admissions crisis in Saskatoon. Every day in Saskatoon hospitals there are many patients who are well enough to be discharged, but cannot leave hospital until they can be sent to a long term care home or be guaranteed Home Care or other services in the community after their discharge. The inefficient staffing of CPAS means hospital discharges are delayed or patients in hospital emergency rooms have to be admitted to hospital wards, rather than be referred to community-based programs,” Wasylenko concluded.

For Further Information Contact:

Kate Robinson (Communications)
Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan
306-221-6316

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