Tag: Sask

Sask. health care worker battling cancer says job conditions driving colleagues out


A Saskatchewan healthcare social worker battling breast cancer shared her experiences navigating the health system – while also voicing concern over the culture and working conditions in the sector.


Shannon Orell-Bast was diagnosed with breast cancer in August of 2022. Since then she’s received 16 rounds of chemotherapy, 25 radiation treatments, a double mastectomy with no reconstruction and 17 immunotherapy treatments.


She attended the legislature on Tuesday to shed light on what issues she faced while receiving care.


“As a healthcare social worker, that’s what I do for a living, I navigate the healthcare system … and I was met with a lot of barriers trying to navigate for myself,” she told reporters.


Orel-Bast also highlighted diagnostic and treatment delays – and how those facing cancer simply cannot afford the wait.


“There is research that says from the time that you find breast cancer – within nine months you should be through that treatment for your best prognosis. So if we have delays in even getting diagnostic testing done or getting the treatment done, we are reducing the lifespan of these people,” she said.


“I was actually concerned at one point, this system is gonna kill me, truly.”


Orell-Bast said she witnessed the effects of staffing shortages and a culture of overwork, leading to burnout.


“The mission statement of the [Saskatchewan Health Authority] is ‘We work together to improve the health and well-being every day for everyone’ and that everyone includes health care workers,” she explained.


“Because if they’re not well, we’re not well.”


Orell-Bast’s appearance at the legislature was not her first time sharing her experiences navigating the health care system.


“We had a conversation back in December about her personal circumstances and just her view of

Sask. residents can now access surgical procedure information online – 620 CKRM

Saskatchewan residents now have expanded access to their personal health information, as the new Surgical Procedures feature has been introduced on MySaskHealthRecord accounts.

This feature, the first of its kind in Canada, allows individuals with an account to view details about upcoming surgeries, including the scheduled procedure date, specialist or surgeon’s name, procedure name(s), location, and status.

Minister Tim McLeod of Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors, and Rural and Remote Health highlighted the significance of MySaskHealthRecord in conveniently providing patients with vital health information.

“MySaskHealthRecord puts important personal health information literally in the palm of a patient’s hand,” McLeod said. “Saskatchewan continues to lead in allowing patients to access their own personal health information in an easy-to-use format.”

Accessible both online and via the MySaskHealthRecord app, the Surgical Procedures feature allows patients awaiting surgery to stay informed about their upcoming procedures. Patients can also opt for push notifications to receive timely alerts regarding their surgical information.

Provincial Department Head of Surgery for the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Dr. Michael Kelly, emphasized the advantages of well-informed patients.

“Well-informed patients are better prepared for appointments with their health care providers and can be more directly involved in decisions impacting their surgical procedures,” he said. “When patients can easily access information ahead of time, it allows us to make good use of the time we have together. We spend less time on scheduling details and can focus on discussing their individual journey toward timely surgical care.”

MySaskHealthRecord, launched in October 2019, initially provided access to online lab test results and other health records. The subsequent introduction of the MySaskHealthRecord app in May 2023 further streamlined access to personal health information, with the app averaging 10,000 downloads monthly since its release.

Residents aged 14 and above with a valid SGI driver’s license or photo ID,

Sask. medical info leaked because three doctors share the same last name


Saskatchewan’s privacy watchdog says the medical information of 109 people was leaked because three doctors share the same last name.


One letter and 85 faxes were said to be “misdirected” to the office of Dr. Darcy Marciniuk (DM), according to an investigation report by Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner Ron Kruzeniski.


In some cases the faxes were intended for Dr. Jeffrey Marciniuk. Both physicians practice in Saskatoon and have the same specialty.


“In one case, a fax should have been sent to Dr. Tanya Marciniuk who also practices in Saskatoon. The misdirected letter should have been sent to Dr. JM (Jeffrey Marciniuk),” the report says.


Kruzeniski says the incident underscores privacy concerns around the widespread use of fax machines in the health system. He also pointed to three similar breaches in recent memory.


“In previous investigation reports, I have expressed serious concerns about the privacy risks that arise from the ongoing use of traditional faxes to send personal information and personal health information,” he said.


The leaked information included echocardiography reports, cardiology reports, hospital discharge records, lung function reports, ophthalmology reports, pathology reports, lab results, medical imaging results, patient care notes, referral letters and consultation notes, the report says.


In some cases, it also included a person’s name and health card number, in other instances an individual’s address, phone number, birthdate and gender.


The senders of the faxes included large organizations such as the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, the report says. Other senders included clinics where multiple health care providers worked, other senders were sole practitioners.


Kruzeniski attributes the leaks to a variety of errors — unclear direction to administrative staff from a physician, the wrong or incomplete name provided by the patient, or the wrong

Sask. family says persistence is key while trying to access specialist care


While recent statistics suggest that Saskatchewan is making progress on shortening waitlists for surgeries and diagnostic scans – some residents are still facing serious delays in accessing certain types of specialists.


After undergoing surgery on his thyroid, Darren Schachtel has faced roadblock after roadblock in his attempts to follow up with an endocrinologist – with the waitlists in Regina measured not in months, but in years.


“You’re kind of left just hanging. You really don’t know. They can’t really tell you. You haven’t got any timeline or anything,” he told CTV News while describing his experience.


According to a recent report from Secondstreet.org – a think tank that tracks health care delivery across Canada – Saskatchewan is making progress on some fronts.


“We’ve actually seen a positive story in Saskatchewan,” Secondstreet.org President Colin Craig explained.


As of Dec. 14, 28,361 people are waiting for surgeries in Saskatchewan, while 19,637 residents are in queue to receive diagnostic scans.


The totals mark a -21.2 per cent and a -4.8 per cent decrease since June of 2022.


Part of the improvements, Craig noted, is Saskatchewan’s willingness to adapt in the name of efficiency.


“They’re not afraid of trying different things,” he said. “They’ve decided to send some patients out of province if those patients want to go and get care faster. So that’s a positive thing because for a lot of patients, they just want to put an end to their chronic pain.”


While its good news for those who need surgeries or diagnostic scans – the picture seems to be less bright for those looking to access specialists.


The question of how many people are seeking care from specialists remains a mystery – as Secondstreet’s data contains holes – with specialist

Sask. Health Authority slow to fix issues at Saskatoon special-care homes: provincial auditor

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has “made little progress” fixing issues at contracted special-care homes in and around Saskatoon, according to the provincial auditor’s newest report.

The report, published Wednesday, found 13 of the 15 contracted special-care homes in Saskatoon — which provide 24-hour care to people who can’t care for themselves — had more than 27.5 per cent of residents using anti-psychotic drugs without a diagnosis of psychosis.

“This is often an indicator that special care home staff are chemically managing their residents,” auditor Tara Clemett said.

The report found the performance results at three of the special care homes in and around Saskatoon have worsened since a previous audit in 2019. Four of the six performance measures were unchanged compared with an earlier 2017 audit, it said.

Those elderly care homes aren’t the only ones found to have this issue, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

About 34 per cent of residents on anti-psychotic medication in Saskatchewan care homes are undiagnosed, according to documented data from the institute. It’s the highest percentage among Canadian provinces, with the Canadian average at about 25 per cent.

The trend of potentially inappropriate use of anti-psychotic drugs in Long-Term Care homes as released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information in both Saskatchewan and Canada. Saskatchewan increased from 27.5 per cent in 2018-19 to 34.3 per cent in 2022-2023.
The trend of potentially inappropriate use of anti-psychotic drugs in Long-Term Care homes as released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information in both Saskatchewan and Canada. Saskatchewan increased from 27.5 per cent in 2018-19 to 34.3 per cent in 2022-2023. (Canadian Institute for Health Information)

The report said the health authority and private operators of the homes are developing a new contract expected to be complete by March. The auditor expects that will set the bar for quality and accountability, and clearly lay out roles. 

However, the health authority needs to work with the homes to improve its performance and quality of care, the report said.

“Failure to address non-compliance

Sask. health care: A million hours of overtime clocked by nurses this year, union says


The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses said nurses have clocked more than a million hours of overtime this year as they face a shortage in their profession.


 “We’re so short-staffed like we have over a million hours of overtime so far clocked this year, (which would pay for) 720 full-time equivalents,” SUN president Tracy Zambory told CTV News.


 SEIU-West, the union representing St. Paul hospital workers, is also seeing staffing issues.


 “They don’t have the emotional, physical or mental ability to keep running at this level of crisis,” SEIU-West president Barbara Cape said.


 Zambory said the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s newly announced “action plan” to alleviate overcrowding in Saskatoon hospitals does not address core issues.


 “Unfortunately, we were not given the ability to have any sort of input in this plan,” she said.


 SHA CEO Andrew Will said staff and unions have been included in conversations.


“We’ve had ongoing engagement with staff and with our union partners over the many initiatives that we have implemented,” Will said in a press conference on Tuesday.


 A letter to SHA leaders signed by 118 emergency department staff at St. Paul’s Hospital cited issues of overcrowding, unsafe ratios of nurses to patients and indignity experienced by patients treated in hallways.


“I had the opportunity to be in the emergency department to speak with staff and physicians and we have included some of their ideas in this plan as well,” Will said.


Zambory said out-of-province agency nurses at St. Paul’s hospital are being paid $120 an hour.


“This is no way to run a healthcare system. We’re going to find ourselves bankrupt if we think this is a solution that we’re going to hang our hats on,” she said.


Zambory said the union is

Sask. hospital staff call out overcrowding, unsafe conditions in the emergency department


Nursing staff at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon are calling on Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) to act on unsafe conditions in the emergency department.


CTV News obtained a letter to SHA leaders signed by 118 emergency department staff at St. Paul’s addresses overcrowding, unsafe ratios of nurses to patients and the indignity experienced by patients treated in hallways because of the lack of space.


Overcrowding leads to poorer patient outcomes, longer hospital stays and higher mortality rates, the letter says, and physicians have nowhere to properly assess people.


“We have great concerns that someday soon something bad will happen in our waiting room despite our best efforts to work in this broken system.”


With nowhere to treat new patients coming in, staff had to place people in hallway beds, “which are literally just stretchers in front of nursing desks and lined down hallways, with no safety equipment for the patients, call bells or oxygen.”


On Wednesday, the Saskatoon Fire Department said hallway beds were obstructing exit doors in the hospital, in violation of national fire code requirements.


“These deplorable conditions are leading to breaches in confidentiality, lack of dignity, and unsafe care provision due to no space with appropriate monitoring for care required,” the letter says.


“Staff report tremendous moral injury due to the conditions patients are placed in. Pad changes in the hallways while staff try hold sheets around the bed, examinations in the waiting rooms, chest pain patients with no heart monitor to observe their heart, cancer diagnoses given without privacy in the waiting room, sexual assaults with no bed to examine them or provide privacy,” staff wrote.


In an emailed statement, an SHA spokesperson told CTV News that a plan to deal with capacity pressure in Saskatoon’s hospitals

SHA embarking on national tour to promote health-care careers in Sask.

SHA embarking on national tour to promote health-care careers in Sask.

Health Minister Everett Hindley says Saskatchewan’s Health Human Resources Action Plan has seen success in the year since it first launched. (Lisa Schick/980 CJME)

As Saskatchewan struggles with an ongoing shortage of health-care workers, two agencies are about to embark on a national tour to promote employment opportunities in the province.

From Sept. 22 through Oct. 6, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and the newly established Saskatchewan Healthcare Recruitment Agency will be sending a delegation to Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.

According to a release from the provincial government, the goal of the tour is “to promote employment opportunities, benefits and incentives available in the province.”

The delegation will be meeting with health-care workers, students and post-secondary schools in the five provinces, including two large career fairs and multiple meet-and-greet events in centres including Toronto, Montreal, St. John’s, Charlottetown and Halifax.

The Saskatchewan government said current trends show that young adults, families and new graduates are interested in moving to or returning to the province as they seek out affordable living, opportunities for full-time work and higher pay.

Health Minister Everett Hindley said there has never been a better time to come to Saskatchewan for work in the health-care field.

“As part of our recruitment efforts, we will continue to promote our province as the great place it is, offering a lower cost of living, excellent wages and benefits, plus strong health care teams and wonderful communities to join,” Hindley said in a statement.

Health Human Resources plan hits one-year milestone

September marks the first anniversary of Saskatchewan’s $60-million Health Human Resources Action Plan, the aim of which was to add 1,000 health-care workers to the workforce over the next few years.

Tim McLeod, Saskatchewan’s minister of mental health and addictions, said the plan

Sask. Ministry of Health give timeline of health professional work expansion

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Health said it is following through on a previous announcement to expand the range of services that pharmacists, advanced care paramedics, and nurse practitioners can provide patients.

The ministry said changes will come over the next year as it works with stakeholders to amend policies and regulations.

The Saskatchewan government said pharmacists will be able to independently prescribe, as well as order lab tests and conduct point-of-care testing, like drawing a blood sample to help patients manage diabetes or cholesterol.

Nurse practitioners will have extended privileges for admitting and discharging patients in some hospital areas. They’ll also be able to examine long-term care patients and be responsible for medical care, treatment and death certificates of residents.

Advanced care paramedics will be able to perform suturing for lacerations, cuts and minor wounds.

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The province had said on Feb. 2 that it would be looking at making these changes.


Click to play video: 'Sask. to introduce expanded roles for pharmacists, nurse practitioners and paramedics'


Sask. to introduce expanded roles for pharmacists, nurse practitioners and paramedics


“These changes will empower our highly qualified pharmacists, nurse practitioners and paramedics, giving them the opportunity to make greater use of their skills and expertise to further support patient care,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said.

“Enhancing scope of practice will enable Saskatchewan pharmacists in hospitals and communities to serve patients with pharmaceutical care and medication management in a safe and timely manner,” said Amy Wiebe, president of the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals Council.

“These changes will help build primary care capacity, ease health care system pressures, and improve access to care for patients.”

She said there have been steps to broaden the scope of what pharmacists can do over several years, noting that this is an evolving process.

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Wiebe said pharmacists have been reliant on practitioners who could prescribe

Murray Mandryk: Sask. doctors may be exploring once unthinkable moves

Saskatchewan doctors opting to leave is what’s now wrong with our health-care system — why we can’t seem to find a GP or specialist.

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There was an uncomfortableness in the conversation between the patient, his wife and their doctor beyond the usual reasons for uncomfortableness in such settings.

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