4 overwhelmed Sask. hospitals refused critical patients at same time: NDP says

A leaked Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) dashboard indicates that four of the province’s hospitals were ‘on-bypass’ at the same time on April 25, according to the Sask. NDP.

“At RUH, St. Paul’s, Yorkton and Swift Current, all of those hospitals were on bypass, sending patients for critical care elsewhere because they were overwhelmed,” NDP Leader Carla Beck said during question period on Wednesday.

“To the premier, do you think that it’s acceptable to have four of our largest ICU’s turning patients away?”

The Official Opposition’s evidence consisted of a picture of a chart, titled ‘April 25 – Critical Care Dashboard [12:40].’

In the chart, Royal University Hospital (RUH), St. Paul’s Hospital (SPH), Yorkton Regional Health Centre (YRH) and Cypress Regional Hospital are listed under “Continue Bypass.”

In his reply to the Opposition’s question, Premier Scott Moe stressed the province’s efforts in recruitment across Canada and internationally.

“Mr. Speaker, this is most certainly why we brought forward such an ambitious human resources plan in the health care sector,” he said during question period.

“As I said, the collective Canadian challenge we are seeing, a lack of human resources, a lack of people offering and supporting those on our front lines, Mr. Speaker, across the nation of Canada, Saskatchewan is not exclusive in this challenge.”

According to Sask. NDP MLA and critic for health Vicki Mowat, ICUs under bypass in the province is an ongoing issue.

“It’s a snapshot in time but we hear it happens frequently,” she told reporters, referring to the leaked dashboard.

“It shows four facilities on bypass at this time, meaning there were not ICU beds available. People who go into ICU are often in a critical condition it means that if they are not closely supervised, we see people pass away in those settings very frequently.”

Mowat went on to say that the province’s health care system’s reliance on contract nurses is also a concern.

“There is definitely a cost imperative for people in this province to know how many of their taxpayer dollars are being spent on this,” she said.

“In terms of retention of senior nurses, it’s incredibly demoralizing to work alongside someone who is being paid two to three times the amount you are to do the same job you are doing. So it is definitely not a sustainable long term way of creating a heath care workforce.”

Health Minister Paul Merriman responded to the Opposition’s questions surrounding contract nurses during question period.

“The member opposite referenced contract nurses, these are 200 individuals that we do have contracted, that have been used in previous governments that are used across Canada,” he said.

“Is it the member’s position that we should fire those contract nurses and have more service disruptions, Mr. Speaker? Because I would really like for them to stand up and put that on the record.”

What was once a support has now become a necessity, according to Mowat.

“This is not something they are using once in a while to get by, this has become a crutch,” she added.

“I don’t see a way out of it right now. We need to be able to work toward a way out through adequate recruiting, retention and making sure those are good jobs people are going to stay in.”


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