Prince Albert (April 2, 2012) – In recent weeks there have been as many as twelve professional health care positions vacant in the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region’s mental health program, and the region’s failure to fill these vacancies has resulted in longer waiting lists for people needing a variety of important health care services, Health Sciences President Karen Wasylenko told a Prince Albert news conference.
“Prince Albert is a prime example of why Saskatchewan health regions must be required to publicly report their budgeted staffing levels by profession, explain what service levels this staffing is expected to accomplish, and regularly report on the waiting lists for these health care services. Health regions are getting more and more public money each year to serve their residents, and they need to become more accountable for these tax dollars,” Wasylenko said.
“Some professional positions in the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region have been vacant for as long as five years! Nine of the twelve mental health program positions remain vacant today, while another three have been eliminated by managers who claim they no longer have ‘budget’ for them. Twelve lost positions represent a 40% reduction in the program’s professional staff. These kinds of bureaucratic games, which health regions call vacancy management, fail to put patients and their families first,” Wasylenko added.
“The health region’s failure to fill professional vacancies means that families trying to access a variety of mental health programs for children and adults are waiting months to see a Social Worker, Psychologist or Mental Health Therapist,” Wasylenko said.
“The Prince Albert Parkland Health Region said last month that it expected to run a budget surplus of $1.4 Million for the 2011-2012 budget year, which ended March 31st. The recent provincial budget provided the region with a 3.5% increase for the new budget year, which begins this week. It is clear that much of the region’s budget surplus was built by leaving professional health care positions vacant for as long as possible, saving the region money, but reducing important health care services in the process,” Wasylenko charged.
“Health Sciences met recently with health region managers to urge that these vacancies be filled as soon as possible, but most of the vacancies have yet to even be advertised, while those that have been are advertised on the health region’s website only. There is no serious effort to fill these positions, and to restore a proper level of service to the public. The eighty-thousand residents of the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region deserve better,” Wasylenko 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:
Communications, Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan