Last week, there was a report card done on the state of Saskatchewan’s health care facilities. This report card was done by VFA Canada, a firm which specializes in analyzing the conditions of buildings in the health care sector. This particular firm has been reporting on Saskatchewan facilities for many years. This report was actually done last year and everyone from the media on down has been wondering why the report was not released immediately. Now know the reason. The report card was a total failure for the Government of Saskatchewan.
The cost of repairs to Saskatchewan’s buildings in the various health care districts has more than doubled to $2.2 billion in the last six years. It’s no wonder the Sask Party government have been sitting on these terrible results because it points to the abject failure of the government and the health region bureaucracies to do something about a problem which is getting worse by the day.
On Saturday, there was an article on the front page of the Regina Leader Post talking about Pioneer Village falling apart. The story talks about the roof leaking, about black mould in the walls and an asbestos problem that has never been fixed although it was identified years ago. This is where our senior citizens – the people that built our province and country – are expected to live out their days. There is not much dignity or care in a situation like that. Unfortunately, this is just one story amongst dozens of other ones that we all know exists.
Anyone of us who have visited long-term care homes and many of our other regional health facilities have known that there are problems with the structures, with cleanliness and certainly in many cases, understaffing. It is not much different with many of our major health facilities with Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon being cited over and over again for cleanliness issues and the obvious needs of upgrades to infrastructure.
The PC Party believes that this problem can be fixed. It is going to take many years of dedicated funding which must become part of the annual health budget and must be above the fiddling of politicians and the health region bureaucrats. Obviously these people cannot be trusted to do the right thing.
The PC Party has proposed that 5% of the overall health budgets, by legislation, must be directed toward proper maintenance of facilities and further to this, there must be an annual report submitted to the Provincial Auditor. This report must outline the progress made in eliminating this infrastructure deficit in Saskatchewan’s hospitals and other facilities and have the Provincial Auditor ensure that there is compliance with the 5% mandate. When one checks the financial statements of the various health regions, it appears only about 1.5% of the overall budget has been allocated to repairs and maintenance. In fact, many of the health regions spend more on utilities than keeping up their infrastructure.
This is simply unacceptable and most of us would never think of treating our own homes in this manner nor would we allow our Parents, our Grandmas and our Grandpas to live in such conditions.
The fact that the Wall government has allowed this deficit to double in the last 6 years which have been 6 of the best years this province has ever seen as far as the money our provincial government has reaped from our resources and our commodities means that this is a total dereliction of duty on the part of our elected representatives.
All future governments must make this a priority and rectify the problem. The PC Party’s proposal will force government to at least begin doing the right thing.
Your feedback is welcome on anything you see in the Monday Morning Commentary. Please send your comments to contact @pcsask.ca. If you know of anyone that would be interested in receiving this by email, please forward me their email address. Also – don’t forget to check out our website at pcsask.ca.
These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.