Nurse shortage leads to bed closures
REGINA – Saskatchewan’s nursing
shortage is forcing bed closures at both Regina hospitals. A spokesman
for the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region said that six beds on a general
surgery/gynecology/family medicine unit at the General Hospital will
soon be closed.
That’s in addition to eight beds on a general surgery/orthopedics unit
which have been out of service since late February at the Pasqua
Hospital. “It has exclusively to do with [the fact that] there isn’t the
nursing staff available to provide safe patient care,” said spokesman
Mark Torjusen. “Recruiting is ongoing, but certainly, as health
organizations across the country experience, it is a challenging
Health Minister Len Taylor said the province is working to recruit
health professionals in North America and around the world, noting that
a shortage of health professionals isn’t unique to Saskatchewan.
During an early April question period session at the provincial
legislature, Saskatchewan Party health critic Don McMorris said bed
closures will only worsen the waiting list situation, especially for
“Waiting lists are increasing and, under this government’s watch, beds
are closing. That does nothing to reduce the waiting lists around the
province,” he said.
Health Minister Taylor said the province has taken steps to address the
shortage of health professionals as the province’s financial picture
improved in recent years. “When we began to have additional resources
available to us, in and around the year 2000 and since, we have
continually increased the number of (training) seats and the money
that’s available for collective agreements, recruitment initiatives and
the bursary program.”
However, according to McMorris, the recent provincial budget fell far
short of what’s required by only establishing 18 new seats to train
registered nurses. A search on the
www.saskjobs.ca web site showed over 270 nursing positions listed as
available in early April.