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Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region to issue layoff notices

On Sept. 16, the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region said it would be issuing layoff notices.
On Sept. 16, the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region said it would be issuing layoff notices. Global News / File

Some Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) employees will soon be receiving layoff notices, the region said Friday.

The health region said it is expected that fewer than 20 people will get layoff notices, but that all positions are also being considered.

According to RQHR, staff rosters in 117 urban, rural and long-term care units have been reviewed. RQHR also made recommendations for staffing schedules.

This September, the units looked over whether the recommendations were completed or if there needed to be more changes.

“We also know that a small number of units require further action, and we are taking steps to address these areas in a number of ways, including issuing layoff notices in some instances,” Keith Dewar, RQHR president and CEO, said.

“I really don’t have a number, and it’s not because I don’t want to give you a number. It’s because it’s a challenge to provide a number that tomorrow wouldn’t be different than today, which was different than what it was a week ago.”

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READ MORE: Saskatoon Health Region to lay off approximately 70 people

RQHR said once the notices are sent out, collective agreements that support unionized employees would let the employees move to other positions in the regions, such as vacant positions or an area with greater patient demand

“It is our hope that the individuals affected will elect to pursue other opportunities elsewhere in the region, resulting in minimal job loss,” Dewar said.

“We will make every effort to support staff members in their efforts to retain employment within the region in accordance with the collective agreement process.”

Dewar said that RQHR is still focusing on safe, high-quality patient care as it works on the “staff realignment process.”

“During this process, the region will not be reducing services, closing beds or halting programs relating to this initiative, Dewar said.

Tracy Zamboray, Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) president, said that SUN is troubled by the direction. She said that this is going to be a complex situation that needs to be done right.

“We need to ensure that there is no break in patient care, that it is seamless for the patients that we look after, and that the transition for the registered nurses from position A to position B is also done properly for the people,” she said.

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The health regions’ 2016-17 operating budget came in at just over $1 billion in July. RQHR said it was directed to reallocate $1.46 million from administrative spending to front-line services in long-term care.

Dewar said that as of August the region is dealing with a $4.7 million deficit.

READ MORE: Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region to reallocate $1.46 million in administrative costs

At the time, RQHR said one of the ways to reallocate the money may be to not fill vacancies in the region or realigning work.

More to come