2021 seeing increase in health-care workers leaving SHA

(Photo by Praful Gangurde/Hindustan Times via Getty Images).

From January to September of this year 10.5 per cent more Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) staff members left the organization than over the same time frame a year before, according to a spokesperson.

In a supplied statement, SHA Media Relations Officer Amanda Purcell said “while we cannot speak to the specific reasons involved, we can say that we continue to see more staff leaving the SHA since the arrival of the pandemic.”

The statement also mentioned an internal survey conducted last year in which two-thirds of respondents (the overall response rate was 38 per cent) agreed that colleagues were experiencing burnout. Purcell said the 2020 survey, conducted months and multiple waves of COVID-19 ago, is the most recent data gathered relating to burnout and fatigue.

Story continues below advertisement

“We know that the pandemic presents us with an unprecedented situation and that our staff members are fatigued,” Purcell added, highlighting that the SHA has made a range of in-person and online mental health supports available to staff.

Click to play video: 'Nurses leaving medical industry in droves'
Nurses leaving medical industry in droves

Dr. Jeremy Katulka, a Saskatoon-based ICU doctor, says he’s already witnessing the effects of burnout firsthand.

“We don’t let people drive trucks or fly airplanes every single day without rest. Continuing to run a system outside of its usual parameters causes safety incidents to happen,” said Katulka.

“We’ve had critical patient safety incidents already, markers of quality like line infections are much higher than they should be, and I think that’s just a reflection of the fact that we’re well outside of the safe operating parameters of our ICUs.”

Story continues below advertisement

However, Katulka abstained from making specific suggestions for measures to prevent residents from ending up in hospital in the first place.

“We cannot possibly accommodate 200 critically ill patients in Saskatoon, or in Saskatchewan rather, this winter, that is an impossibility. We will not be able to manage that number of patients without either evacuating them to other provinces or implementing triage,” he said.

SEUI-West President Caper added in a press conference called Thursday that the union’s health-care worker members are “hanging on by their fingernails right now.”

“I think what you’re going to see when the chaos of this pandemic has cleared is people leaving in droves. I’ve heard anecdotally from other healthcare leaders that they’re hearing the same form their members. And another thing I think we need to turn our minds to, is when we come out of this pandemic the mental health impact for those still in the healthcare system is going to be significant.”

Purcell added that “the SHA does not support spreading misinformation that casts doubt on the seriousness of COVID-19, the validity of the science of this pandemic, and the effectiveness of COVID vaccinations.”

“This kind of communication feeds conspiracy theories and misinformation, and is not only offensive, but dangerous. We encourage the public to seek valid sources of information regarding COVID-19 and vaccinations, such as through the Government of Saskatchewan COVID-19 website, or the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).”


Sponsored content