Saskatoon

Saskatoon Health region braces for job losses

The Saskatoon Health Region is dealing with a projected deficit of $45 million, and it appears that job cuts will be among the steps it must take to reduce costs.

Immediate action needed to cut costs, says CEO

Dan Florizone President and CEO of the Saskatoon Health Region warns that job cuts are coming. (David Shield, CBC)

The Saskatoon Health Region is dealing with a projected deficit of $45 million, and it appears that job cuts will be among the steps it must take to reduce costs.

There will be job losses.- CEO Dan Florizone 

"There will be job losses — I want to be clear here. The actual number will depend, and it depends largely on the areas that will be targeted, the programs and services that would be withdrawn," said CEO Dan Florizone. 

The region is under pressure to meet a growing population and increased demand for services. 

"We've looked at what could be done, what might be done, but also the risks associated with it," said Florizone. "So, every program needs to be viewed from the perspective of what would be the impact on patients."

Of the 1,100 programs and services the health region provides, Florizone says they've now narrowed it down to a shortlist of 84 that they're looking into.

Florizone told reporters today that the health region's efforts to reform the system and find savings have not produced results quickly enough. The region, meanwhile is predicting a very busy and expensive January.

"Right now, I can show you almost right to the day when we're going to get surged. We predict within 94 per cent accuracy, [we'll have] 120 patients more than we have beds for," he said. 

Florizone indicated that a decision on job cuts will have to come soon. Some staff will likely receive the bad news before Christmas or early in the New Year. 

Opposition weighs in

Saskatchewan's Opposition leader, Cam Broten, said a poor outcome is expected when jobs in the healthcare system are being reduced while there is a high demand for bedside care.

Saskatchewan NDP Leader Cam Broten speaks to the media on Tuesday. (CBC)

"My concern is that patients will be suffering and frontline workers that are already stretched thin will be even more short-staffed than what we're hearing from patients and from workers," Broten said.

"This government needs to be up front, clear, honest and transparent about how many staff will be cut, and then how many surgeries will be reduced because that's been part of the discussion as well," he added. "They're choosing to spend money where we're not seeing results and I'm talking about the millions that we continue to plow into Lean."

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