January 27, 2016 1:11 pm
Updated: January 27, 2016 1:25 pm

Questions raised about cleanliness, care in new Saskatchewan hospital

Cheryl Pakula says she noticed dirty floors, medical waste under the bed and staff that didn't immediately respond to requests for cleanups while spending time with a loved one in the Dr. F. H. Wigmore Regional Hospital.

Courtesy of Cheryl Pakula and the NDP

MOOSE JAW, Sask. – A woman in Moose Jaw, Sask., is blaming the provincial government’s cost-cutting Lean program for what she believes is a reduced level of cleanliness and care in the city’s new hospital.

Cheryl Pakula says she spent 13 days last month with a loved one undergoing treatment in the Dr. F. H. Wigmore Regional Hospital.

Pakula says during that time, she noticed dirty floors, medical waste under the bed and staff that didn’t immediately respond to requests for cleanups.

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She also believes the emergency room was built too small because it allows people waiting for treatment to overhear private medical information when patients come in to register.

Cheryl Craig, CEO of the Five Hills Health Region, says dirty rooms are unacceptable but she rejects Pakula’s belief that they’re the result of Lean.

Craig admits the emergency room is small by design, but notes that doctors and administrators are trying to find solutions to
privacy issues.

Pakula was joined by Saskatchewan NDP health critic Danielle Chartier when she met with reporters on Tuesday to discuss what she
had seen, including housekeeping staff distributing meals to patients.

“I’m very concerned that they might come and clean the toilet in your loved one’s room and then go hand out their dinner to them. That’s an issue,” she said.

Pakula also said that while she was in the emergency ward, she could overhear details of everyone’s health problems as they checked in with administrators.

“They were less than 10 feet away. There’s no privacy there. When the chairs filled up in the emergency room, there were people sitting on the floor.”

Craig said there were staff absences over the Christmas season for a number of reasons, but noted that the hospital does respond to concerns about cleanliness.

She also said the hospital is trying to enhance patient privacy in the ER.

“We’re looking at ways to create what I would call some white noise so that people in the waiting room would not have the same opportunity to overhear a conversation.”

Government ministries and certain agencies have used Lean since 2010. School divisions and some post-secondary institutions started using it in 2013.

Judy Ferguson, Saskatchewan’s auditor, examined the initiative across government agencies and ministries with the exception of the Health Department.

Ferguson said in her annual report last month that’s not clear if the program is working because there isn’t enough information to know whether it’s providing better service or creating a culture of continuous improvement.

Kent Campbell, deputy minister responsible for Lean, said at the time that overall, Lean has been a success. The Opposition said the auditor’s report shows problems with the program.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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