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CUPE calls for Saskatchewan long-term health care facilities to remain in public sector

Last week, the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority issued a request for proposal to find proponents to provide up to 375 standard long term care beds in Regina that could impact the Regina Pioneer Village. Global Regina

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is calling on the Saskatchewan government to reconsider a private option for the Regina Pioneer Village.

Last week, the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority issued a request for proposal to find proponents to provide up to 375 standard long-term care beds in Regina.

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“We are committed to providing the best possible services for long-term care residents in Regina, now and into the future,” Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said.

“This work will help meet their needs in spaces that support their comfort and ensure safe and healthy environments for both residents and staff.”

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Standard LTC refers to facilities and services to support individuals who are no longer able to live independently in the community and require 24/7 personal and/or nursing care, and who meet the criteria for LTC placement as approved by the SHA.

Bashir Jalloh, the president of CUPE, said the move to for-profit long-term care will not cause a number of problems for the Regina Pioneer Village.

“Their goal is to make profit,” Jalloh said. “So therefore, they take shorts cut in terms of staffing. They have less staff. Their obligation is to their shareholders.”

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Jalloh also explained how the move to the private system could impact prices for both residents and businesses.

“How many of us can afford the amount of three or four thousand dollars to go to some of these facilities,” he said.

“We want all long term care facilities to stay in the public system where there is a minimum requirement of staffing level, where there are policies and guidelines for these residents.”

Moving forward, Jalloh plans to meet with the government and push them to reconsider the situation.

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He said the perfect example of why they feel this move should be prevented has happened very recently.

“If nothing else, we should learn from COVID-19,” Jalloh explained.

“We know COVID decimated our health care system, all of us, every fabric. But we know it was much more serious in this private, for-profit, long-term care facilities. We just have to look at Regina here. We know what happened to extended health care in Regina, where their goal is to make money for the shareholders. And we know how many residents died.”

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