"The public is concerned that professional under-staffing in health care is hurting their ability to access health care services, when and where they need them.” — Karen Wasylenko, President Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan
Regina (November 16, 2015) – A province-wide public opinion survey commissioned by the Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan shows Saskatchewan residents are concerned that the understaffing of specialized health care professionals endangers their access to needed health care services, Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan (HSAS/CHPS) President, Karen Wasylenko, told a Regina news conference.
“Respondents to our provincial survey identified Access to Health Care Services (21.3%) and Waiting Lists for Health Care Services (18.9%) as the two most important issues facing Saskatchewan health care today,” Wasylenko said.
Public concerned about lack of health care professionals
At the same time, eight-in-ten respondents (80.1%) agreed with the statement: “Saskatchewan health care employers have chosen to under-staff specialized health care professionals in order to control their budgets. This trend has meant growing waiting lists for many important health care services and unsafe access levels for others.”
"In short, the public is concerned that professional under-staffing in health care is hurting their ability to access health care services, when and where they need them,” Wasylenko added.
The impact of professional under-staffing on access to health care services was confirmed by another series of questions on our survey. 55% of respondents said in the past twelve months they or a member of their immediate family had required "the services of a Health Sciences professional from the public health care system.”
Understaffing hurting the quality of care
"Nearly one-quarter of these respondents (23.3%) said they waited from one to six months to access the health care services they required; while another 6.1% reported they had to wait six to twelve months for these health care services,” Wasylenko reported.
“Even after they had accessed these health care services, 14.5% of respondents reported that they were unable to receive enough health care treatment, at the appropriate frequency, to solve their health care problem (10.4% “No”; 4.1% “Problem ongoing”).
Professional under-staffing in health care hurts everyone, from patients and their families, to taxpayers who end up paying more for a system that isn’t providing the care needed in a timely manner,” Wasylenko said.
The 2015 Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan Public Opinion Survey was conducted by telephone with 1043 Saskatchewan residents from August 11 to 31. A survey of this size provides a Margin of Error of +/-3% to a 95% confidence level.
Management received low ratings
The survey, conducted for Health Sciences by Points West Consulting of Regina also found: Health care was rated as the most important issue facing Saskatchewan today by 28.2% of respondents, with the State of the Economy the next most mentioned issue, at 18.2%
The public gave low ratings to the management of the health care system by local health regions. While the management of the health care system received relatively low ratings from the public, respondents expressed high confidence in a number of specialized health care professionals represented by Health Sciences.
For example: Paramedics (65.7%), Physical Therapists (52.6%), and Hospital Pharmacists (52.1%) all received higher confidence ratings than Saskatchewan health regions.
“For years now, health regions have stonewalled our efforts to make their health care management decisions more transparent, and their performance more accountable to the public. These public survey results are further proof that patients want and need increased public disclosure from Saskatchewan health care regions”, Wasylenko concluded.
Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan
Health Sciences represents more than thirty-seven hundred specialized health care professionals from more than thirty health care professions. Members include: Emergency care workers like Paramedics; Acute care workers like Hospital Pharmacists, Perfusionists, and Respiratory Therapists; Rehab professionals like Physical Therapists and Speech Language Pathologists; and Community-based professionals like Public Health Inspectors, Psychologists and Social Workers.
MAHCP is a member of the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat (CHPS).
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE