Saskatchewan Health Authority announces new care beds for Saskatoon, Regina

Click to play video: 'SHA announces new care beds for Saskatoon, Regina'
SHA announces new care beds for Saskatoon, Regina
On Thursday, Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) CEO Andrew Will commented on the advantages of the Capacity Pressure Action Plan (CPAP) implemented in community health to help patients flow to where they need to be in the health care system. – Mar 21, 2024

In the midst of long wait times, short staffing and overcrowded hospitals, the Saskatchewan Health Authority announced new care beds as part of its action plans for the cities of Saskatoon and Regina.

On Thursday, the SHA announced 260 new beds for Saskatoon and Regina to speed up patient discharge and transitions from acute care to other care settings.

Click to play video: 'Sask. announces largest budget increase to health-care funding'
Sask. announces largest budget increase to health-care funding

“The actions that have been implemented through the Capacity Pressure Action Plans are having a meaningful impact on our ability to address capacity pressures in our largest urban centres,” said SHA chief executive Andrew Will.

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“We are committed to continuing to support and listen to our staff and physicians, who have provided excellent care to patients throughout the current capacity pressures.”

According to the SHA, 84 long-term care beds will be added in Saskatoon, bringing the number of added community care beds to 159. Forty of the beds are expected to be operational by May 1 with the remaining 44 beds available by June 3.

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Twenty of the new beds are currently promised as transitional beds at Regina Lutheran Home. This is in addition to 27 previously announced community-based beds in Regina.

On Wednesday, the SHA saw a 5.6 per cent increase in its budget for the 2024-25 year during the release of the provincial budget. The additional $30 million invested into the SHA will help push the action plans forward.

The SHA said it is also trying to recruit an additional 290 full-time equivalent staff members, including 107 nurses.

It said that since the initial implementation of the plans, it has hired more than 156 additional full time equivalent staff across both cities, including more than 60 in nursing positions.

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan’s CPAP designed to help alleviate patient congestion: SHA CEO'
Saskatchewan’s CPAP designed to help alleviate patient congestion: SHA CEO

President of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses Tracy Zambory said nothing from the Saskatoon and Regina action plans have translated positively to the front lines, including emergency rooms.

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“In fact, St. Paul’s Hospital, particularly the emergency room is finding itself in worse shape than ever. We are having a hard time feeling any excitement on what they are announcing,” Zambory said.

She said her union members have been pressing the government, saying the action plans aren’t working.

“We had a lot of deadlines in the Saskatoon action plan that have came and went with virtually no change, so it is with a very jaded eye that we are looking at this action plan and wondering if it is really going to amount to much.”

John Ash, vice president of Integrated Saskatoon Health said he is hearing positive feedback from health care staff.

“We actually spend time in the emergency department and on the in-patient areas talking to staff,” Ash said. “The investments are making a difference. They are improving conditions. What we consistently hear is that this is the right work.”

Zambory said she has heard the opposite.

“The communication with our members is telling us that this conversation is not happening in the manner in which it was described, and it certainly is not registered nurses feeling that this is going in the right direction,” she said. “It’s quite the opposite. Things are worse than they have ever been.”

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A town hall meeting is being held Thursday evening at 5:00 p.m. between the St. Paul’s Hospital emergency room staff and the SHA.

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