Regina - Thursday, October 3, 2002 - By: Stu Innes
I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading your Health Workers strike report of October 2nd 2002. Of course the impact of the strike is, or ought to be, secondary to the impact that the Provincial Healthcare System itself has had on the delivery of healthcare over the last decade.
It is doubly ironic that "managers" can maintain the existing system at (I believe) two thirds capacity - how many of them are there anyway? Too many?
It is ironic that with the bed closures since the strike action, staffing levels now more or less equal the remaining open beds!
I assume that the NDP will try to pull the same trick with this group that they did with CUPE and invent a proposal that would see strike time count as holiday time and claim that the strikers need not lose pay should they accept the deal. In reality the government will have saved up enough money from the strike to pay out the holidays of the strikers and the strikers will have given up their holidays as well as their pay.
It is especially disheartening to see the media gobbling up misleading reports from SAHO such as a burn victim being airlifted to Edmonton due to the strike when this has actually become a common occurrence with only one plastic surgeon left at the Regina General Hospital and the burn unit itself closed 364 days per year. ( They open it for media coverage of charitable donations once a year or so )
Equally disheartening are the phone in talk line callers who say "let them go to Alberta" when it is clear to those in the field of healthcare that "they" have already gone and left an unworkable and unsafe system behind that only gives the appearance of providing adequate healthcare to Saskatchewan residents because of the extreme dedication of the frontline workers who remain and the remarkably believable public relations campaign of the NDP and SAHO.
If you don't believe me ask anyone who was on a waiting list for over a year before the strike took place!
If the strikers failed to call to the attention of the pubic, the predicament of the healthcare system and the healthcare workers then they would have to share the entire responsibility with those who have perpetuated and aggravated the problem over the last decade.
If the media can't smarten up and offer the public some concrete reporting of the true situation rather than regurgitating the SAHO/NDP propaganda they can certainly share the blame as well.
Some would say that was the NDP that are to blame and some would say it was those who voted NDP and some would say it was those who never even bothered to get out and vote and some would say it was all of the above.
I say this province can afford to pay healthcare workers enough money to attract a full compliment of staff at all levels, without raising taxes but we need a government that recognizes frontline healthcare as a greater priority than the many low or zero return projects announced almost daily by government such as the recently announced $2.8 million dollars that will partly be used by someone involved with the "gazillion dollar syncroton project to research
"monitoring odour exposure levels in the vicinity of intensive livestock operations".
Find it here - Honest folks, here is cash money labelled for agriculture to be used to more precisely determine how much a feedlot stinks! Can our healthcare tax dollars be any better managed by a government that believes this is a good thing.
For a steady stream of bizarre examples of spending visit the government news release web site -
I continue to be flabbergasted, amazed and appalled.
Thanks Timothy for providing a window to news and opinions that might otherwise go un-noticed or unheard.

Stu Innes