Government must come clean on condition of health facilities

Families and workers have a right to know about problems, when they will be addressed

As hospitals and health facilities continue to deteriorate, the NDP says it is time for the government to stop sweeping the problems under the rug and start caring for the health infrastructure Saskatchewan people rely on. As another hospital deals with infrastructure failures – Saskatoon’s City Hospital, this time – the government is continuing to hide details about massive problems.

Nearly every detail has been removed or covered up in a report the government has been required to release to the NDP. The Opposition has been demanding the facilities condition report for months after becoming aware the government received it from consultant VFA no later than November 2013.

“Saskatchewan families, patients and health care workers have a right to know what has been given a failing grade, what the government is and is not replacing, and what is at the top of the priority list,” said John Nilson, the NDP’s associate critic for health.

“If there is a problem with the boiler in your mom’s seniors care home, you should have the right to know that, and a right to know if or when the government is planning to replace it. Employees deserve to know when problems plaguing everyday patient care will be resolved. Particularly since there could be safety concerns for workers and patients, I think there is a right to know.”

As examples of infrastructure problems, Nilson pointed to new mothers giving birth on wards with no hot water, and surgeries cancelled because of infrastructure failures affecting patient care. This week, maintenance workers smelling for signs of smoke are being used to detect potential fires at City Hospital after failures in water, sprinkler and electrical systems.

Select parts of the VFA report were finally, quietly released online last week. The report conservatively calculated $2.2 billion in repairs are necessary in health facilities and hospitals across the province.

The NDP has requested the release of the full report repeatedly over the last several months, including during questioning on the record in the Legislature in committees and during consideration of estimates for Executive Council (premier’s estimates) as well as through multiple formal written requests using the province’s Access to Information laws.

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