NDP asking for stop to all health care layoffs before election
Recent layoff in Prince Albert health region spurs appeal to government
Saskatchewan's Opposition leader Cam Broten is asking that the Ministry of Health stop all layoffs of front-line health care workers until after the election, set for April 4.
The call comes after the NDP learned about a recent layoff of an acute care staff member in the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region.
One worker at Prince Albert's Victoria Hospital was sent a layoff notice last week.
Health regions across the province have been talking about downsizing staff. Late last year, the Saskatoon Health Region said it would be laying off workers to deal with a $45 million deficit.
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Broten said he worries that cuts to front-line workers will hurt patient care.
"What should be happening is the cutting of the Sask. Party waste, cutting of their pet projects, cutting of their entitlements," Broten said during a media scrum in Prince Albert. "Not the things that Saskatchewan families count on."
The Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region says it is reducing casual and overtime hours as part of a workforce optimization plan, and that it's not slashing jobs.
Government spokesperson Kathy Young responded on Monday afternoon, saying it has repeatedly confirmed no one will lose their employment.
"CEO Dewar is talking about FTE equivalent paid hours coming from reducing casual hours, overtime hours and redeploying staff to other areas within their scope. So the NDP are incorrect," Young said.
NDP spokeswoman Erin Morrison said the main issue is how such cuts affect patients, the care they receive and how quickly they receive it.
She said that even if health care workers are moved into different units or departments, the effects will still be felt by patients waiting for care.