Kelsey Trail Health District NO SHOW at meeting about Sasko Park Lodge


Kelsey Trail Health District NO SHOW
at meeting about Sasko Park Lodge

FTLComm - Tisdale - Wednesday, August 27, 2003
The Kelsey Trail Health Region is not known for being an effective communicator and on this issue they are par for the course. The kitchen staff at the senior citizens Tisdale residence, Sasko Park Lodge have been advised that they will be laid off in late October and the food for the residence of the lodge will be handled by the existing kitchen staff at the hospital.

Tisdale people are shocked at this development which when implemented in Winnipeg and other centres had shown to result in no saving and has had really negative affects on the people depending upon meal service. When the community heard about this plan, a petition was circulated and this evening a large crowd met at the Golden Age Centre.

Jim Billy chaired the meeting and in his opening remarks explained that though efforts had been made to have members of the Health Region Board attend this meeting they not only did not come, but indicated the would not come. No officials from the staff of the health region would attend so the meeting was left with relying upon rumors and assumptions about the plans of the Region.
Mr. Billy read a carefully worded document that outlined the general concerns people have reported about the plan to end food services at Sasko Park Lodge. Primarily, the people at the meeting were seriously concerned about the residents who have a contract with the facility and the removal of health services from their residence, in essence, breaks the agreement they have.

Clearly, the provincially appointed Regional Board feels no obligation to the people of the communities in which the facilities and services they oversee serve.

After discussing the issue and many individuals taking the floor to outline the problems they foresee, it was decided that since the Board and members of its staff were unwilling to come to this meeting and discuss the concerns with them, then they would have a delegation attend the next Board meeting in Nipawin on September 23. Andy Miles accepted the responsibility of making the arrangements and getting time on the meeting's agenda for their delegation to be able to ask their questions and clear up some of the issues that trouble the people of Tisdale.
If you don't recall, it is important to understand the underlying problems that Saskatchewan's health care system has undergone in the past nine years. The excessive spending by government in the late eighties left the provincial budget in trouble and the Romanow government had no choice but to chop health care spending. Since this was not a popular thing to do, the Romanow government established elected health districts throughout the province. Of course this deflected blame for the shortfall in money, but it was a total failure, as all of the province's health districts went into debt, they replaced their CEOs time after time and could not get their budgets to the provincial department of health for approval. With the whole system facing mounting debt, strikes occurred one after another and Saskatchewan people not happy about the system. Then the magical conclusion came about, that the health districts would be abolished and replaced with huge health regions with government appointed boards.

When it was clear that the boards didn't work, I was puzzled by seeing them combined into larger even more bureaucratic operations with decision making being completely removed from the people who delivered the services and the doctors and nurses, all more and more over worked. With doctor and nurse morale so low, how would this system be better? When these new regions came into affect last fall I went to see the new Regional Director at his office here in Tisdale. I went there day after day, week after week and there was always an excuse, he was at a meeting, he was busy and no one else could talk to me. This I recognised as a straight forward "runaround." At that point I decided that the organisation already knew it was a failure and there was no point discussing it with a reporter.

The "no show" at this evening's meeting is more than just bad manners, it is a clear indication of bad management. The people at the meeting wanted answers to questions, they were not meeting to hold a lynching, they want assurance that the senior citizens who need and pay for good care, will receive nutritious food and will not be mistreated by some cost saving measure. Of course, we all realise that the reason that no one came to the meeting was simply because they know more than anyone, that the plan is just not going to work.

Timothy W. Shire



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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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