CUPE: New report highlights crisis in rural health care

A new research report into the state of rural health care in Saskatchewan confirms what CUPE already knew – rural health care is in crisis and patients and health care workers are paying the price.

The new research report from the University of Regina’s Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU), “The Current State of Health Care in Saskatchewan,” highlighted concerning statistics on the state of rural health care:

  • The number of vacant health care positions has doubled since 2019.
  • That between 2019 and 2023, there were 952 service disruptions for a total of 6,795 days.
  • The Saskatchewan Health Authority’s reliance on casual and part-time rather than full-time positions is worsening short-staffing issues in rural areas.

“We believe it is important that the public and decision-makers are aware of how bad things are on the frontlines of health care in rural Saskatchewan,” said Bashir Jalloh, president of CUPE 5430. “This research adds another independent, credible voice to the chorus calling for urgent action to address the short-staffing and retention crisis in rural communities.”

CUPE 5430 is calling for urgent action from the provincial government to create more full-time positions for health care workers in rural areas and to create a retention plan to keep the health care workers currently working in Saskatchewan’s health care system.

“The hardworking health care workers we represent have been failed by Scott Moe’s government,” said Kent Peterson, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “Instead of listening to health care workers and fixing his mess in health care, Scott Moe has been focussed on his own politics. It’s time for a change.”

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