Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan


Public Opinion Survey Shows Need for Increased Health Region Accountability

Saskatoon (October 30, 2014) – A province-wide public opinion survey commissioned by the Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan confirms Saskatchewan residents are concerned with the ability of their local health regions to deliver needed health care services efficiently, Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan President, Karen Wasylenko, told a Saskatoon news conference.

“Our provincial survey shows only about one-third of respondents (36.2%) rate the performance of their local health region highly (8-10 rating on ten-point scale), while more than one-in-ten (11.5%) actually rate their health region’s performance as poor (1-3 on ten-point scale). Even fewer Saskatchewan residents are confident that health regions are improving their performance. Only 22.1% of respondents expressed high confidence that their health region was improving, while an almost equal number, 19.7%, expressed low confidence in this proposition,” Wasylenko said.

“Health regions continue to make poor management decisions that are not in the best interests of patients. Last week’s decision to pay the CEO of the Saskatoon Health Region (SHR) a full year of salary as ‘severance’ to force her to retire sooner than expected is just the latest example. The more than $382,000 lost by this decision could have paid the salaries of seven or more specialized health care professionals for a full year. How does that kind of decision ‘put patients first’?” Wasylenko asked.

The 2014 Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan Public Opinion Survey was conducted by telephone with 1044 Saskatchewan residents from August 18 to September 4. A survey of this size provides a Margin of Error of +/-3% to a 95% confidence level. The survey, conducted for Health Sciences by Points West Consulting of Saskatchewan, also found:

  • Health care was rated as the most important issue facing Saskatchewan today by 35.2% of respondents, more than four times the next most mentioned issue, Economy/Jobs, at only 8.7%
  • While health regions received low ratings for their performance, respondents expressed high confidence in a number of specialized health care professionals represented by Health Sciences: Paramedics (71.5%), Hospital Pharmacists (54.5%), Physical Therapists (53.2%) and Perfusionists (39.5%) all received higher confidence ratings than Saskatchewan health region
  • 61.8% of respondents said they or a member of their immediate family had “required the services of a Health Sciences professional” in the past year, and 38.6% of these respondents confirmed they had to “wait longer than expected to access the service or get an appointment”. Of these respondents, 21.9% said they had waited six months or longer to access the health care service they needed
  • 81.7% of survey respondents agreed (56.7% Strongly and 25% Somewhat) with the statement: “The Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan claims many of its specialized health care professions are chronically under-staffed in Saskatchewan health regions and that this under- staffing has hurt access to health care services”
  • 87.8% of survey respondents agreed (55.4% Strongly and 32.4% Somewhat) with the statement: “While the number of physicians and nurses have increased in Saskatchewan in recent years, staffing levels for other specialized health care professionals haven’t changed, and it’s time to fix this problem”
  • 77.8% of respondents agreed (44.7% Strongly and 33.1% Somewhat) with the statement: “Saskatchewan health care employers have chosen to under-staff specialized health care professionals in order to control their budgets. This trend has meant growing waiting lists for many important health care services and unsafe access levels for others”

“For years now, health regions have stonewalled our efforts to make their management decisions more transparent, and their performance more accountable to the public. We argue that our health care professionals, and the public, have the right to know: the number of staff each Health Region considers to be full staffing for our professions; how these staffing levels have changed from year to year; what level of service health regions expect to achieve with those staffing levels; and the current wait lists and response times for patient services,” Wasylenko said.

“Increased public disclosure of health care staffing levels, wait times and service levels can only improve the quality of the decisions health care employers make. Our public opinion survey shows that these improvements are long overdue. The public is ready for change,” Wasylenko concluded.

Health Sciences represents more than thirty-six hundred 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:

Mark Jagoe
Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan


Highlights of Public Opinion Survey October 30, 2014

are the public opinion survey results referred to in the News Release

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