The Saskatoon Health Region says 70 jobs will be lost under its sustainability plan

The Saskatoon Health Region says about 70 people’s jobs will be “affected by sustainability plan measures” as it tries to keep its budget balanced.

According to a news release issued late this afternoon by the health region, the eliminated positions will include unionized and non-unionized employees. 

“We have made these decisions knowing how difficult this is for employees across our Region,” health region CEO Dan Florizone said in the release.

“We built our sustainability plan on the principles of not compromising patient care and doing everything we can to protect frontline services while delivering health care in the most efficient way possible. We had hoped to avoid affecting the jobs of any of our over 11,000 employees. However, we knew that with over 70 per cent of our entire budget devoted to staffing, not affecting jobs was extremely unlikely.”

The health region board approved a $1.2 billion budget last week, but Florizone said then it would be a challenge to keep it balanced. A $25 million to $30 million deficit is forecast if the region stays on its current trajectory.

The release said the health region worked with its union partners to “make every effort” to minimize job losses, including taking steps that reduced overtime costs by nearly 20 per cent while holding vacancies “wherever possible.”

“As a public organization, with a responsibility to taxpayers, a balanced budget must be achieved and with that, job loss has been unavoidable,” Florizone said.

“It’s a direction none of us wanted to take and we are doing our utmost to support those affected and their coworkers during this time.”

The release said the health region is making a number of small changes in hopes of minimizing the impact on its people and clients.

“We remain optimistic that we are moving towards the right decisions about care delivery, from re-designing alternate level of care (ALC) services to adjusting how we deliver urgent care to the community,” Florizone said in the release.

“We need to make tangible system changes based on the right service being delivered in the right way by the right people. It’s the only way we are going to make the system sustainable for the future. The path won’t be easy and there remain difficult decisions ahead.”

The SHR is expected to provide more information at a news conference at 5 p.m. A live feed of the event will be broadcast on the Saskatoon StarPhoenix Facebook page.

Published: September 15, 2016

Source: Saskatoon Star Phoenix