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Legislative Report (8 September 2006)

Legislative Report

8 September 2006

Lack of Plan by NDP Regarding Front-Line Healthcare Workers

This week, the NDP finally admitted it had a problem when it comes to the recruitment and retention of nurses in Saskatchewan. Sadly, this new level of awareness comes far later than it should have. Further, the plan outlined this week by the NDP contains some serious flaws.

It’s not so much what’s in the program, but what’s missing. Once again, the NDP has failed to set targets for how many new nurses it wants to attract for the $15 million it plans to spend.

Whether it’s nurses, job numbers or population growth, the NDP seems extremely reluctant to commit to firm targets. As the NDP health minister said back in March of this year, “Even if we put a number on it (targets for new nurses) there’s no guarantee we would be able to meet that number in any case”.

However, without targets, the NDP will have no idea if the money earmarked for recruitment and retention has been well spent. In addition, until there are targets, no one will have any idea whether the new money allocated to solve this problem will be sufficient, or woefully inadequate.

Another thing missing from this week’s announcement was the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN). The NDP news release dated September 4 makes this cryptic reference to the main union representing front-line health care workers: Saskatchewan Union of Nurses Invited; Confirmation Pending.

The NDP may be waiting a while for that confirmation. In its own news release, SUN expressed concern that there were still no targets for new nursing positions in Saskatchewan, and wondered why the NDP is so far behind other provinces when it comes to aggressive strategies to keep and bring nurses to this province.

Nurses and other health care workers in Saskatchewan are being worked off their feet. Many are slated to retire in the next two years. Our friends and loved-ones are waiting far too long for the medical services they need—all because of a shortage of nurses.

And while the NDP has finally admitted there is a problem, little concrete action is being taking to improve the situation.

This is just another example of how the NDP is on the wrong track when it comes to managing health care, and is falling behind other provinces in the services it provides.

If you have a question about this report or any other matter, just Contact Glen.

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