Saskatoon

Saskatchewan Health Authority pulls 'whistleblower hotline' proposal

A proposal for an anonymous whistleblower hotline for Saskatchewan has been withdrawn as two health care unions voice their displeasure.

Union calls proposal 'unnecessary, wasteful use of tax dollars'

The Saskatchewan Health Authority has announced it is pulling a proposal for an anonymous whistleblower hotline. (CBC)

A proposal for an anonymous whistleblower hotline for Saskatchewan has been withdrawn as two health care unions voice their displeasure.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) had posted a request for proposals for the hotline on SaskTenders, a government website that allows companies to bid on upcoming projects.

According to the document, the authority was asking companies to bid on a hotline service where employees and others can come forward with information on people who have violated policies, codes or conduct or legal requirements.

However, on Wednesday afternoon, the health authority announced it was pulling the proposal.

"The Request for Proposals to provide a WhistleBlower Hotline service has been withdrawn to allow the Saskatchewan Health Authority to conduct further internal work on disclosure policies," read a statement released by the SHA.

"Safe, high-quality patient care is a priority for the SHA, but also for all of our staff who come to work every day to provide that safe, quality care."

The decision shortly follows comments made by SEIU-West and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which both represent workers in the authority.

"It surprises me that while we have been meeting regularly with the SHA, this initiative was never mentioned," said Janice Platzke, treasurer of SEIU-West, in a news release. "The lack of information raises many questions and concerns for our members."

"A whistleblower hotline is an unnecessary, wasteful use of tax dollars that duplicates existing complaint processes," said Sandra Seitz, president of CUPE Local 5430, in a news release.

"Health dollars would be better invested in front-line services, like adequate staffing levels, new infrastructure, and equipment."

CUPE noted the health region already has procedures in place to deal with improper behaviour, including quality of care co-ordinators and regulatory bodies like the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association.