As you are aware, we have received the updated modelling numbers for Saskatchewan and learned of the SHA’s COVID-19 Readiness Plan. To be clear, this plan is not what will happen, it is what could happen and the final result will depend on how the pandemic progresses in this province.
At this point, we have been able to slow some of the transmission that is being seen in other provinces and countries. However, it is prudent that the SHA plans for a mid-to-high level of spread. This means that the healthcare system will be ready for the potential demand from the mid-to-high range patient numbers and can rapidly respond in an aggressive and sustained manner.
As a result, plans are underway to determine how the health system can be dynamic. The system must be able to open capacity in the areas that will require it most in case of a surge or multiple surges, and be flexible to shift care according to patient needs. Through this planning, SUN has been in continuous dialogue with the SHA about how these needs can be met and how our members can best be supported in caring for their patients.
We are now in a position to share that these discussions have been successful and this afternoon, SUN agreed to a Letter of Understanding (LOU) with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and other healthcare unions (HSAS, SEIU West, SGEU and CUPE) on how to best meet healthcare needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to ensure we have the necessary resources in place to respond to a variety of levels of pandemic severity, this LOU includes language related to casual use, OT premiums, scheduling, and redeployment.
We are also pleased that the LOU is aligned with many elements in the SUN/SAHO collective agreement and allows SUN to uphold the safety and well being of our members, and your ability to care for patients. We will always be there to support members and ensure you know you are not alone, especially during such uncertain times.
We will get through this together.
Please watch your email inbox for information on member engagement sessions coming next week. These sessions are tentatively scheduled for April 23 and 24 and will provide more detail on the LOU.
Read the LOU here.