Saskatchewan NDP leader Cam Broten visited Prince Albert Monday, calling for a halt on health care layoffs until after the provincial election on April 4.
“We received notice that there are layoffs occurring for frontline care providers here in the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region,” he said. “It doesn’t need to be this way. The SaskParty should cut its waste, they shouldn’t be cutting frontline health care workers.”
According to Broten, the SaskParty has not confirmed how many layoffs were planned.
Dustin Duncan, the Saskatchewan Minister of Health, said it was only one layoff, and no more are planned.
“That position was created back in a time when the obstetrics unit had a number of vacancies. The position was created to help deal with those vacancies. The good news is there are no more vacancies in that unit. It makes a lot of sense why they made that decision.”
“Everyone in Prince Albert knows that Victoria Hospital has been understaffed. We know it’s overcapacity on a regular basis. Hallway medicine is going on far too often … we’ve seen a doubling of wait times. That’s just plain wrong, that’s not where changes should be made,” Broten said.
Duncan said the layoff has nothing to do with budget cuts to Victoria Hospital.
“In fact, the person that’s been affected by this decision, it’s their intention to find them employment in the hospital,” Duncan said.
Cam Broten accused Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall of frivolous spending, such as sending location scouts ahead to hotels to examine five-star hotels and VIP lounges.
“That’s just one example of misplaced spending,” he said.
Broten also said the SaskParty has treated Prince Albert “horribly”.
“P.A. has time and time again had layoffs, the loss of good jobs in health care, the needs of the city neglected when we look at the need for a bridge. Heck, one of their MLAs just quit on them because he wasn’t interested in the job.”
Broten couldn’t confirm his plans for Victoria Hospital and health care in the region if elected, but did say he would work to cut administrative and health care consultation waste.