The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses said nurses have clocked more than a million hours of overtime this year as they face a shortage in their profession.
We’re so short-staffed like we have over a million hours of overtime so far clocked this year, (which would pay for) 720 full-time equivalents, SUN president Tracy Zambory told CTV News.
SEIU-West, the union representing St. Paul hospital workers, is also seeing staffing issues.
“They don’t have the emotional, physical or mental ability to keep running at this level of crisis,” SEIU-West president Barbara Cape said.
Zambory said the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s newly announced action plan to alleviate overcrowding in Saskatoon hospitals does not address core issues.
“Unfortunately, we were not given the ability to have any sort of input in this plan,” she said.
SHA CEO Andrew Will said staff and unions have been included in conversations.
“We’ve had ongoing engagement with staff and with our union partners over the many initiatives that we have implemented,” Will said in a press conference on Tuesday.
A letter to SHA leaders signed by 118 emergency department staff at St. Paul’s Hospital cited issues of overcrowding, unsafe ratios of nurses to patients and indignity experienced by patients treated in hallways.
“I had the opportunity to be in the emergency department to speak with staff and physicians and we have included some of their ideas in this plan as well,” Will said.
Zambory said out-of-province agency nurses at St. Paul’s hospital are being paid $120 an hour.
“This is no way to run a healthcare system. We’re going to find ourselves bankrupt if we think this is a solution that were going to hang our hats on, she said.
Zambory said the union is renewing calls for a nursing task force to help find solutions for the ongoing health-care crisis.
When asked by the opposition in the legislature on Thursday if the government plans to strike a task force, health minister Everett Hindley said the government has had a number of opportunities to have engagement with the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses and with front-line health care providers.
Not only hear from them directly as to what challenges and some of the pressures that they are facing on the front lines in our health care facilities, but also in addition to that, to work with them on solutions, Hindley said.